Syrian Civil War
||This article may be too long to read and navigate comfortably. (November 2013)|
|Syrian Civil War|
|Part of the Arab Spring
and spillover of the Iraqi insurgency
Clockwise from top left: Destroyed vehicles in Aleppo; refugee camp on the Turkish border; artillery firing on Homs; victims of the Ghouta chemical attack. (For a war map of the current situation, see here)
Allied armed groups:
(For other forms of foreign support, see here)
(For other forms of foreign support, see here)
Allied armed groups:
(For more on Kurdish involvement, see here)
|Commanders and leaders|
|Syrian Armed Forces: 178,000–250,000
National Defence Force: 80,000
|Free Syrian Army: 40,000–50,000
Islamic Front: 40,000–70,000
Asala wa al-Tanmiya Front: 13,000
Al-Nusra Front: 7,000–8,000
|Popular Protection Units (YPG): 10,000–35,000 fighters
Jabhat al-Akrad: 7,000
|Casualties and losses|
40,438 soldiers and policemen killed
|49,699–68,780 (16,855 foreign) fighters killed*||518 fighters killed|
118,502–180,215 deaths documented by opposition (late August 2014)**
|Part of a series on|
The Syrian Civil War (Arabic: الحرب الأهلية السورية), also known as the Syrian Uprising, is an armed conflict taking place in Syria. The unrest began in the early spring of 2011 with nationwide protests against President Bashar al-Assad's government, whose forces responded with violent crackdowns. The conflict gradually morphed from popular protests to an armed rebellion after months of military sieges. The armed opposition consists of various groups that were formed during the course of the conflict, including the Free Syrian Army and the Islamic Front.
In 2013, Hezbollah entered the war in support of the Syrian army. In the east, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), a jihadist militant group which was initially linked to Al-Qaeda in Iraq, made rapid military gains in both Syria and Iraq, eventually conflicting with the other rebels. In July 2014, ISIS controlled a third of Syria's territory and most of its oil and gas production, thus establishing itself as the major opposition force.
The Syrian government is upheld by military support from Russia, which was expanded in the winter of 2013–14, and Iran, while Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and United States transferred weapons to the rebels. The US, the UK and European and Arab states have declared a readiness to support the mainstream Syrian opposition. Owing to the nature of this involvement, the international response to the conflict has been described as a proxy war.
By July 2013, the Syrian government was in control of approximately 30–40% of the country's territory and 60% of the Syrian population. A United Nations report in late 2012 described the conflict as being "overtly sectarian in nature", between mostly Alawite government forces, militias and other Shia groups fighting largely against Sunni-dominated rebel groups, although both opposition and government forces have denied it.
According to the United Nations, the death toll surpassed 100,000 in June 2013, and reached 120,000 by September 2013. In addition, tens of thousands of protesters, students, liberal activists and human rights advocates have been imprisoned and there are reports of widespread torture and terror in state prisons.
International organizations have accused both government and opposition forces of severe human rights violations. Chemical weapons have been used many times during the conflict as well. Inspections and probes in Syria by the UN and Amnesty International determined in both 2012 and 2013 that the vast majority of abuses, as well as the largest in scale, were being committed by the Syrian government.
The severity of the humanitarian disaster in Syria has been outlined by the UN and many international organizations. More than four million Syrians have been displaced, more than three million Syrians fled the country and became refugees, and millions more were left in poor living conditions with shortages of food and drinking water.
- 1 Background
- 2 Uprising and civil war
- 2.1 Protests, civil uprising, and defections (January–July 2011)
- 2.2 Protests and armed insurgency (July–October 2011)
- 2.3 Escalation (November 2011 – March 2012)
- 2.4 Ceasefire attempt (April–May 2012)
- 2.5 Renewed fighting (June–July 2012)
- 2.6 Battles of Damascus and Aleppo (July–October 2012)
- 2.7 Rebel offensives (November 2012 – April 2013)
- 2.8 Government and Hezbollah offensives (April–June 2013)
- 2.9 Continued fighting (July – October 2013)
- 2.10 Government and Hezbollah offensives (October 2013 – December 2013)
- 2.11 Fighting between ISIS and other rebel groups (January – March 2014)
- 2.12 Continued Government and Hezbollah offensive (March 2014)
- 2.13 Continued fighting (March – May 2014)
- 2.14 Presidential election (June 2014)
- 2.15 Continued fighting (June 2014 – July 2014)
- 2.16 ISIS offensive and continued fighting (July 2014 - ongoing)
- 3 Advanced weaponry and tactics
- 4 Belligerents
- 4.1 Syrian government and affiliated parties
- 4.2 Opposition parties
- 4.3 Syrian Kurds
- 4.4 Sectarianism and minorities
- 5 Reporting, censoring and propaganda
- 6 International reaction
- 7 Humanitarian help
- 8 Foreign involvement
- 9 Impact
- 10 Spillover
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 Further reading
- 14 External links
Syria became an independent republic in 1946, although democratic rule was ended by a CIA-supported coup in March 1949, followed by two more coups that year. A popular uprising against military rule in 1954 saw the army transfer power to civilians; from 1958 to 1961 a brief union with Egypt replaced Syria's parliamentary system with a highly centralized presidential regime. The Ba'ath Syrian Regional Branch government came to power in 1963 after a successful coup d'état. In 1966, another coup overthrew the traditional leaders of the party, Michel Aflaq and Salah al-Din al-Bitar. General Hafez al-Assad, the Minister of Defense, seized power in a "corrective revolution" in November 1970, becoming Prime Minister. In March 1971, Assad declared himself President, a position that he held until his death in 2000. Since then, the secular Syrian Regional Branch has remained the dominant political authority in what is virtually a single-party state in Syria; Syrian citizens may only approve the President by referendum and – until the government-controlled multi-party 2012 parliamentary election – could not vote in multi-party elections for the legislature.
Bashar al-Assad, the President of Syria and Asma al-Assad, his wife – who is a British-born and British-educated Sunni Muslim, initially inspired hopes for democratic and state reforms and a "Damascus Spring" of intense social and political debate took place between July 2000 and August 2001. The period was characterized by the emergence of numerous political forums or salons, where groups of like-minded people met in private houses to debate political and social issues. Political activists such as Riad Seif, Haitham al-Maleh, Kamal al-Labwani, Riyad al-Turk and Aref Dalila were important in mobilizing the movement. The most famous of the forums were the Riad Seif Forum and the Jamal al-Atassi Forum. The Damascus Spring ended in August 2001 with the arrest and imprisonment of ten leading activists who had called for democratic elections and a campaign of civil disobedience. From 2001 even reformists in Parliament had begun to criticize the legacy of stagnation since the rule of former President Hafez al-Assad; Bashar al-Assad has talked about reform but carried out very little, and he has failed to deliver on promised reforms since 2000, analysts say.
The Assad family comes from the minority Alawite religious group, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam that comprises an estimated 12 percent of the total Syrian population. It has maintained tight control on Syria's security services, generating resentment among some Sunni Muslims, a religious group that makes up about three-quarters of Syria's population. Ethnic minority Syrian Kurds have also protested and complained over ethnic discrimination and denial of their cultural and language rights. Assad's younger brother Maher al-Assad commands the army's elite Fourth Armoured Division, and his brother-in-law, Assef Shawkat, was the deputy minister of defense until the latter's assassination in the 18 July 2012 Damascus bombing.
Discontent against the government was strongest in Syria's poorer areas, predominantly among conservative Sunnis. These included cities with high poverty rates, such as Daraa and Homs, rural areas hit hard by a drought in early 2011, and the poorer districts of large cities. Socioeconomic inequality increased significantly after free market policies were initiated by Hafez al-Assad in his later years, and accelerated after Bashar al-Assad came to power. With an emphasis on the service sector, these policies benefited a minority of the nation's population, mostly people who had connections with the government, and members of the Sunni merchant class of Damascus and Aleppo. By 2011, Syria was facing a deterioration in the national standard of living and steep rises in the prices of commodities. The country also faced particularly high youth unemployment rates.
The state of human rights in Syria has long been the subject of harsh criticism from global organizations. The country was under emergency rule from 1963 until 2011, banning public gatherings of more than five people, and effectively granting security forces sweeping powers of arrest and detention. Bashar al-Assad is widely regarded to have been unsuccessful in implementing democratic change, with a 2010 report from Human Rights Watch stating that he had failed to substantially improve the state of human rights since taking power, although some minor aspects had seen improvement.
Rights of free expression, association and assembly were strictly controlled in Syria even before the uprising. The authorities harass and imprison human rights activists and other critics of the government, who are often indefinitely detained and tortured in poor prison conditions. Women and ethnic minorities have faced discrimination in the public sector. Thousands of Syrian Kurds were denied citizenship in 1962 and their descendants continued to be labeled as "foreigners". A number of riots in 2004 prompted increased tension in Syria's Kurdish areas, and there have been occasional clashes between Kurdish protesters and security forces ever since.
In December 2010, mass anti-government protests began in Tunisia and later spread across the Arab world, including Syria. By February 2011, revolutions occurred in Tunisia and Egypt, while Libya began to experience its own civil war. Numerous other Arab countries also faced protests, with some attempting to calm the masses by making concessions and governmental changes. The uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt are supposed to have inspired the mid-March 2011 protests in Syria.
Uprising and civil war
||This section is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. (March 2014)|
Protests, civil uprising, and defections (January–July 2011)
Small protests began in Syria on 28 January 2011. Mass protests erupted on 15 March in Damascus and Aleppo, and spread in the following days to more cities, while growing in size. The week of 15–21 March is considered by news media as the beginning of the Syrian uprising. On 18 March, the protests turned bloody when the Syrian government reacted with deadly violence. On 20 March in Daraa, after security forces opened fire on the protesting crowd, protesters burned the local Ba'ath Party headquarters, the town’s courthouse and a telephone company building. That day 15 demonstrators and 7 policemen were killed in Daraa. By 25 March, 90 civilians and 7 policemen had been killed in Syria.
The protesters’ demands until 7 April were predominantly democratic reforms, release of political prisoners, “freedom”, abolition of emergency law and an end to corruption. After 8 April, the emphasis in demonstration slogans gradually shifted towards the call for overthrowing the Assad government. Protests spread: on Friday 8 April, they occurred simultaneously in ten cities. By Friday 22 April protests occurred in twenty cities. On 25 April, the Syrian Army started a series of large-scale deadly military attacks on towns, using tanks, infantry carriers, and artillery, leading to hundreds of civilian deaths. By the end of May 2011, 1,000 civilians and 150 soldiers and policemen had been killed and thousands detained; among the arrested were many students, liberal activists and human rights advocates. In his March 2011 speech addressing the protests, Assad claimed that an international terrorist conspiracy sought to topple his government. During this time, Assad released extremists from the Sednaya prison; extremists with no association to the uprisings. These fighters would go on to lead militant groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al Nusra.
Significant armed rebellion against the state began on 4 June in Jisr al-Shugur, a city in Idlib Governorate near the Turkish border, after security forces on a post office roof had fired at a funeral demonstration. Protesting mourners set fire to the building, killing eight security officers, and then overran a police station, seizing weapons from it. Violence continued and escalated over the following days. Unverified reports claim that a portion of the security forces in Jisr defected after secret police and intelligence officers executed soldiers who had refused to fire on civilians. Later, more protesters in Syria took up arms, and more soldiers defected to protect protesters.
Both sides in the conflict used propaganda to promote their own righteousness and their opponents' wickedness (see Reporting, censoring and propaganda in the Syrian Civil War). By the end of July 2011, around 1,600 civilians and 500 security forces had been killed and 13,000 arrested.
Protests and armed insurgency (July–October 2011)
29 July 2011, seven defecting Syrian officers formed the Free Syrian Army (FSA) aiming “to bring this regime down” with united opposition forces. Composed of defected Syrian Armed Forces personnel and civilian volunteers, the rebel army sought to remove Bashar al-Assad and his government from power. The forming of the FSA marked the establishment of formal military resistance to the Assad government. The FSA would grow in size, to about 20,000 by December, and to an estimated 40,000 by June 2012. Nevertheless, the group remained without centralized leadership until December 2012. The FSA, along with other insurgent groups, rely mostly on light weapons, including assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.On 31 July, a nationwide crackdown nicknamed the "Ramadan Massacre" resulted in the death of at least 142 people and hundreds of injuries. Some besieged cities and towns were described as having famine-like conditions.
On 23 August, a coalition of anti-government groups was formed, the Syrian National Council. The group, based in Turkey, attempted to organize the opposition. However, the opposition, including the FSA, remained a fractious collection of political groups, longtime exiles, grass-roots organizers and armed militants, divided along ideological, ethnic or sectarian lines.
Throughout August, Syrian forces stormed major urban centers and outlying regions, and continued to attack protests. On 14 August, the Siege of Latakia continued as the Syrian Navy became involved in the military crackdown for the first time. Gunboats fired heavy machine guns at waterfront districts in Latakia, as ground troops and security agents backed by armor stormed several neighborhoods. The Eid ul-Fitr celebrations, started in near the end of August, were muted after security forces fired on protesters gathered in Homs, Daraa, and the suburbs of Damascus.
By September 2011, organized units of Syrian rebels were engaged in an active insurgency campaign in multiple areas of Syria. A major confrontation between the FSA and the Syrian armed forces occurred in Rastan. From 27 September to 1 October, Syrian government forces, backed by tanks and helicopters, led a major offensive on the town of Al-Rastan in Homs Governorate, in order to drive out army defectors. The 2011 battle of Rastan between the government forces and the FSA was the longest and most intense action up until that time. After a week of fighting, the FSA was forced to retreat from Rastan. To avoid government forces, the leader of the FSA, Col. Riad Asaad, retreated to the Turkish side of Syrian-Turkish border. Many of the rebels fled to the nearby city of Homs.
By October, the FSA started to receive support from Turkey, who allowed the rebel army to operate its command and headquarters from the country's southern Hatay Governorate close to the Syrian border, and its field command from inside Syria. The FSA would often launch attacks into Syria's northern towns and cities, while using the Turkish side of the border as a safe zone and supply route. A year after its formation, the FSA gained control over many towns close to the Turkish border.
In October 2011, clashes between government and defected army units were being reported fairly regularly. During the first week of the month, sustained clashes were reported in Jabal al-Zawiya in the mountainous regions of Idlib Governorate. Syrian rebels captured most of Idlib city as well. In mid-October, other clashes in Idlib Governorate include the city of Binnish and the town of Hass in the governorate near the mountain range of Jabal al-Zawiya. In late October, other clashes occurred in the northwestern town of Maarrat al-Nu'man in the governorate between government forces and defected soldiers at a roadblock on the edge of the town, and near the Turkish border, where 10 security agents and a deserter were killed in a bus ambush. It was not clear if the defectors linked to these incidents were connected to the FSA.
According to defectors, in 2011 the Syrian government intentionally released imprisoned Islamic radicals and provided them with arms "in order to make itself the least bad choice for the international community."
Escalation (November 2011 – March 2012)
In early November, clashes between the FSA and security forces in Homs escalated as the siege continued. After six days of bombardment, the Syrian Army stormed the city on 8 November, leading to heavy street fighting in several neighborhoods. Resistance in Homs was significantly greater than that seen in other towns and cities, and some in opposition have referred to the city as the "Capital of the Revolution". Unlike events in Deraa and Hama, operations in Homs have thus far failed to quell the unrest.
November and December 2011 saw increasing rebel attacks, as opposition forces grew in number. In the two months, the FSA launched deadly attacks on an air force intelligence complex in the Damascus suburb of Harasta, the Ba'ath Syrian Regional Branch youth headquarters in Idlib Governorate, Syrian Regional Branch offices in Damascus, an airbase in Homs Governorate, and an intelligence building in Idlib. On 15 December, opposition fighters ambushed checkpoints and military bases around Daraa, killing 27 soldiers, in one of the largest attacks yet on security forces. The opposition suffered a major setback on 19 December, when a failed defection in Idlib governorate lead to 72 defectors killed.
In January 2012, Assad began using large-scale artillery operations against the insurgency, which led to the destruction of many civilian homes due to indiscriminate shelling. By this time, daily protests had dwindled, eclipsed by the spread of armed conflict. January saw intensified clashes around the suburbs of Damascus, with the Syrian Army use of tanks and artillery becoming common. Fighting in Zabadani began on 7 January when the Syrian Army stormed the town in an attempt to rout out FSA presence. After the first phase of the battle ended with a ceasefire on 18 January, leaving the FSA in control of the town, the FSA launched an offensive into nearby Douma. Fighting in the town lasted from 21 to 30 January, before the rebels were forced to retreat as result of a government counteroffensive. Although, the Syrian Army managed to retake most of the suburbs, sporadic fighting continued. Fighting erupted in Rastan again on 29 January, when dozens of soldiers manning the town's checkpoints defected and began opening fire on troops loyal to the government. Opposition forces gained complete control of the town and surrounding suburbs on 5 February.
On 3 February, the Syrian army launched a major offensive to retake rebel-held neighborhoods. In early March, after weeks of artillery bombardments and heavy street fighting, the Syrian army eventually captured the district of Baba Amr, a major rebel stronghold. The Syrian Army also captured the district of Karm al-Zeitoun by 9 March, where activists said that government forces killed 47 women and children. By the end of March, the Syrian army retook control of half a dozen districts, leaving them in control of 70 percent of the city. By 14 March, Syrian troops successfully ousted insurgents from the city of Idlib after days of fighting. By early April, the estimated death toll of the conflict, according to activists, reached 10,000.
Ceasefire attempt (April–May 2012)
Kofi Annan was acting as UN–Arab League Joint Special Representative for Syria. His peace plan provided for a ceasefire, but even as the negotiations for it were being conducted, Syrian armed forces attacked a number of towns and villages, and summarily executed scores of people.:11 Incommunicado detention, including of children, also continued. In April, Assad began employing attack helicopters against rebel forces.
On 12 April, both sides, the Syrian Government and rebels of the FSA entered a UN mediated ceasefire period. It was a failure, with infractions of the ceasefire by both sides resulting in several dozen casualties. Acknowledging its failure, Annan called for Iran to be "part of the solution", though the country has been excluded from the Friends of Syria initiative. The peace plan practically collapsed by early June and the UN mission was withdrawn from Syria. Annan officially resigned in frustration on 2 August 2012.
Renewed fighting (June–July 2012)
Following the Houla massacre of 25 May 2012, in which 108 people were "summarily executed in two separate incidents" and the consequent FSA ultimatum to the Syrian government, the ceasefire practically collapsed, as the FSA began nationwide offensives against government troops. On 1 June, President Assad vowed to crush the anti-government uprising, after the FSA announced that it was resuming "defensive operations".
On 5 June, fighting broke out in Haffa and nearby villages in the coastal governorate of Latakia Governorate. Rebels fought with government forces backed by helicopter gunships in the heaviest clashes in the governorate since the revolt began. Syrian forces seized the territory from rebels following eight days of fighting and shelling. On 6 June 78 civilians were killed in the Al-Qubeir massacre. According to activist sources, government forces started by shelling the village before the Shabiha militia moved in. The UN observers headed to Al-Qubeir in the hope of investigating the alleged massacre, but they were met with a roadblock and small arms fire before reaching the village and were forced to retreat.
On 12 June 2012, the UN for the first time officially proclaimed Syria to be in a state of civil war. The conflict began moving into the two largest cities, Damascus and Aleppo, which the government said were dominated by a pro-Assad silent majority. In both cities, peaceful protests – including a general strike by Damascus shopkeepers and a small strike in Aleppo were interpreted as indicating that the historical alliance between the government and the business establishment in the large cities had become weak.
On 22 June, a Turkish F-4 fighter jet was shot down by Syrian government forces, killing both pilots. Tensions between Syria and Turkey dramatically escalated following this incident, as both sides disputed whether the jet had been flying in Syrian or international airspace when it was shot down. Despite Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's vows to retaliate harshly against Assad's government, no such intervention materialised. Bashar al-Assad publicly apologised for the incident, and relations between the two countries cooled. By 10 July, rebel forces had captured most of the city of Al-Qusayr, in Homs Governorate, after weeks of fighting. By mid-July, rebels had captured the town of Saraqeb, in Idlib Governorate.
Battles of Damascus and Aleppo (July–October 2012)
By mid-July 2012, with fighting spread across the country and 16,000 people killed, the International Committee of the Red Cross declared the conflict a civil war. Fighting in Damascus intensified, with a major rebel push to take the city. On 18 July, Syrian Defense Minister Dawoud Rajiha, former defense minister Hasan Turkmani, and the president's brother-in-law General Assef Shawkat were killed by a suicide bomb attack in Damascus. The Syrian intelligence chief Hisham Ikhtiyar, who was injured in the same explosion, later succumbed to his wounds. Both the FSA and Liwa al-Islam claimed responsibility for the assassination.
In late July, government forces managed to break the rebel offensive on Damascus by pushing out most of the opposition fighters, although fighting still continued in the outskirts. After this, the focus shifted to the battle for control of Aleppo. On 25 July, multiple sources reported that the Assad government was using fighter jets to attack rebel positions in Aleppo and Damascus, and on 1 August, UN observers in Syria witnessed government fighter jets firing on rebels in Aleppo. In early August, the FSA offensive to capture Aleppo was repelled, and the Syrian Army recaptured Salaheddin district, an important rebel stronghold in Aleppo. In August, the government began using fixed-wing warplanes against the rebels.
On 19 July, On the same day, Iraqi officials reported that the FSA had gained control of all four border checkpoints between Syria and Iraq, increasing concerns for the safety of Iraqis trying to escape the violence in Syria. On 19 September, rebel forces seized a border crossing between Syria and Turkey in Ar-Raqqah Governorate. It was speculated that this crossing, along with several other border crossings into Turkey and one into Iraq, could provide opposition forces with strategic and logistical advantages, allowing them greater ease in transporting supplies into the country.
In late September, the FSA moved its command headquarters from southern Turkey into rebel-controlled areas of northern Syria. On 9 October, rebel forces seized control of Maarat al-Numan, a strategic town in Idlib governorate on the highway linking Damascus with Aleppo. By 18 October, the FSA had captured Douma, the biggest suburb of Damascus. Lakhdar Brahimi arranged for a ceasefire during Eid al-Adha in late October, but it quickly collapsed as both rebels and the Syrian Army resumed large-scale operations.
Rebel offensives (November 2012 – April 2013)
After Brahimi's ceasefire agreement officially ended on 30 October, the Syrian military expanded its aerial bombing campaign in Damascus. A bombing of the Damascus district of Jobar was the first instance of a fighter jet being used in Damascus airspace to attack targets in the city. The following day, Gen. Abdullah Mahmud al-Khalidi, a Syrian Air Force commander who was described by the state media as one of the country's top aviation experts, was assassinated by opposition gunmen in the Damascus district of Rukn al-Din. In early November 2012, rebels made significant gains in northern Syria. The rebel capture of Saraqib in Idlib governorate, which lies on the strategic M5 highway, further isolated Aleppo from government-controlled areas of the country. Due to insufficient anti-aircraft weapons, rebel units attempted to nullify the government's air power by destroying landed helicopters and aircraft on air bases. On 3 November, rebels launched an attack on the Taftanaz air base, a core base for the Syrian military's helicopter and bombing operations.
On 18 November, rebels took control of Base 46 in the Aleppo Governorate, one of the Syrian Army's largest bases in northern Syria, after weeks of intense fighting with government forces. Defected General Mohammed Ahmed al-Faj, who commanded the assault, hailed the capture of Base 46 as "one of our biggest victories since the start of the revolution", stating that nearly 300 Syrian troops had been killed and 60 had been captured, with rebels seizing large amounts of heavy weapons, including tanks. On 22 November, rebels captured the Mayadeen military base in the country's eastern Deir ez-Zor Governorate. Activists said this gave the rebels control of a large amount of territory east of the base, stretching to the Iraqi border. On 29 November, at approximately 10:26 UTC, the Syrian Internet and phone service was shut off for a two-day period. Syrian government sources denied responsibility and blamed the blackout on fiber optic lines near Damascus becoming exposed and damaged; Edward Snowden in August 2014 claimed that this Internet breakdown had been caused, though unintendedly, by hackers of the NSA during an operation to intercept Internet communication in Syria.
In mid-December 2012, American officials said that the Syrian military had resorted to firing Scud ballistic missiles at rebel fighters inside Syria. Reportedly, six Scud missiles were fired at the Sheikh Suleiman base north of Aleppo, which rebel forces had occupied. It is unclear whether the Scuds hit the intended target. The government denied this claim. Later that month, a further Scud attack took place near Marea, a town in a rebel-held area north of Aleppo near the Turkish border. The missile appeared to have missed its target. That same month, the British Daily Telegraph reported that the FSA had now penetrated into Latakia Governorate's Mediterranean coast through Turkey, and that the Syrian government's forces were unable to repel the FSA invasion thus far. In late December, rebel forces pushed further into Damascus, taking control of the adjoining Yarmouk and Palestine refugee camps, pushing out fighters from the pro-government Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command with the help of other factions. Rebel forces launched an offensive against army positions in Hama governorate, later claiming to have forced army regulars to evacuate several towns and bases, and stating that "three-quarters of western rural Hama is under our control." Rebels also captured the northern town of Harem near the Turkish border in Idlib governorate, after weeks of heavy fighting.
On 11 January 2013, Islamist groups, including al-Nusra Front, took full control of the strategic Taftanaz air base in the northern Idlib governorate, after weeks of fighting. The air base, one of the largest in northern Syria, was often used by the military to carry out helicopter raids and deliver supplies. The rebels claimed to have seized helicopters, tanks and multiple rocket launchers, and other military equipment, before being forced to withdraw by a government counter-attack. The leader of the al-Nusra Front said the amount of weapons they took was a "game changer". On 11 February, Islamist rebels captured the town of Al-Thawrah in Ar-Raqqah Governorate and the nearby Tabqa Dam, Syria's largest dam and a key source of hydroelectricity. The next day, rebel forces took control of Jarrah air base, located 60 kilometres (37 mi) east of Aleppo. The base had been used to launch bombing raids in Aleppo governorate, and had served as an important supply line for the Assad government. On 14 February, fighters from al-Nusra Front took control of Shadadeh, a town located in Al-Hasakah Governorate near the Iraqi border.
On 20 February, a car bomb exploded in the Mazraa neighborhood of Damascus near the Ba'ath Syrian Regional Branch headquarters, killing at least 53 people and injuring more than 235. None of the organized groups on either side in the conflict claimed responsibility. On 21 February, the FSA in Quasar began shelling Hezbollah positions in Lebanon. Prior to this, Hezbollah militants had been shelling villages near Quasar from within Lebanon. A 48-hour ultimatum was issued by a FSA commander on 20 February, warning the militant group to stop the attacks or face retaliation.
On 2 March, intense clashes between rebels and the Syrian Army erupted in the north-central city of Raqqa, with many reportedly killed on both sides. On the same day, Syrian troops regained several villages along the highway near Aleppo. By 3 March, rebels had overrun Raqqa's central prison, allowing them to free hundreds of prisoners, according to the SOHR. The SOHR also stated that rebel fighters were now in control of most of an Aleppo police academy in Khan al-Asal, and that over 200 rebels and government troops had been killed fighting for control of it.
On 4 March, rebel forces launched an offensive to capture Raqqa outright. By 6 March, the rebels had captured the entire city, effectively making Raqqa the first provincial capital to be lost by the Assad government. Residents of Raqqa celebrated by tearing down a huge poster of Assad, and toppling a bronze statue of his late father Hafez Assad in the centre of the city. The rebels also seized two top government officials. On 18 March, the Syrian Air Force attacked rebel positions in Lebanon for the first time. The attack occurred at the Wadi al-Khayl Valley area, near the border town of Arsal. On 21 March, a suspected suicide bombing in the Iman Mosque in Mazraa district killed as many as 41 people, including the high profile pro-Assad Sunni cleric, Sheikh Mohammed al-Buti. On 23 March, several rebel groups seized the 38th division air defense base in southern Daraa governorate near a strategic highway linking Damascus to Jordan. On the next day, rebels captured a 25 km strip of land near the Jordanian border, which included the towns of Muzrib, Abdin, and the al-Rai military checkpoint.
On 25 March, rebels launched one of their heaviest bombardments of Central Damascus since the revolt began, with mortars hitting Umayyad Square, where Ba'ath Party headquarters, Air Force Intelligence and state television are also located. The attack was launched when rebel forces advanced into the Kafr Souseh district of Damascus. On 26 March, near the Syrian town of al-Qusayr, rebel commander Khaled al Hamad, who commands the Al Farooq al-Mustakilla Brigade and is also known by his nom de guerre Abu Sakkar, ate the heart and liver of a dead soldier and said "I swear to God, you soldiers of Bashar, you dogs, we will eat from your hearts and livers! O heroes of Bab Amr, you slaughter the Alawites and take out their hearts to eat them!" in an apparent attempt to increase sectarianism. Video of the event emerged two months later and resulted in considerable outrage, especially from Human Rights Watch which classified the incident as a war crime. According to the BBC, it was one of the most gruesome videos to emerge from the conflict to-date. On 29 March, rebels captured the strategic town of Da'el after days of fierce fighting. The town is located in Daraa Governorate, along the strategic highway connecting Damascus to Jordan. On 3 April, rebels captured a military base near the city of Daraa.
Government and Hezbollah offensives (April–June 2013)
On 17 April, government forces breached a six-month rebel blockade in Wadi al-Deif, near Idlib. Heavy fighting was reported around the town of Babuleen after government troops outflanked weakened rebel positions with troops now attempting to secure control of a main highway leading to Aleppo. The break in the siege also allowed government forces to resupply two major military bases in the region which had been relying on sporadic airdrops. On 18 April, the FSA took control of Al-Dab'a Air Base near the city of al-Qusayr. The base had no aircraft and was being used primarily to garrison ground troops. Meanwhile, the Syrian Army took control over the town of Abel. The SOHR director described the Army takeover of the town by saying that it will hamper rebel movements between al-Qusayr and Homs city. According to him, the capture of the airport would have relieved the pressure on the rebels in the area, but their loss of Abel made the situation more complicated. The same day, rebels also reportedly assassinated Ali Ballan, who was head of public relations at the Ministry of Social Affairs and a member of Syria's relief agency, in a restaurant at Mazzeh district in Damascus. On 21 April, government forces captured the town of Jdaidet al-Fadl, near Damascus.
In April, government and Hezbollah forces launched an offensive to capture rebel-held areas near al-Qusayr. On 21 April, pro-Assad forces captured the towns of Burhaniya, Saqraja and al-Radwaniya near the Lebanese border. By this point, eight villages had fallen to the government offensive in the area. On 24 April, after five weeks of fighting, government troops seized control of the town of Otaiba, east of Damascus. The town had been under rebel control for the previous eight months, serving as the main arms supply route from Jordan. Meanwhile in the north of the country, rebels took control of a key position on the edge of the strategic Mennagh Military airbase, on the outskirts of Aleppo. This allowed them to enter the airbase after months of besieging it.
On 2 May, government forces captured the town of Qaysa, which lies to the east of Damascus in a steady push north from the city's airport. Troops also retook the Wadi al-Sayeh central district of Homs, driving a wedge between two rebel strongholds. SOHR reported a massacre of over 100 people in the coastal town of Al Bayda, Baniyas, when the Syrian army stormed the town. However, this could not be independently verified due to movement restrictions on the ground. Yet the multiple video images that residents said they had recorded in Bayda and Ras al-Nabeh – particularly of small children, were so shocking that even some government supporters rejected Syrian television's official version of events, that the army had simply "crushed a number of terrorists." On 3 May, the Syrian army backed by the Shabiha reportedly committed a massacre of civilians near the city of Baniyas. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that at least 50 people – and possibly as many as 100 – were killed. Witnesses said the dead were killed with knives or blunt objects and that dozens of villagers were still missing.
On 8 May, government forces captured the strategic town of Khirbet Ghazaleh, situated along the highway to the Jordanian border. Over 1,000 rebel fighters withdrew from the town due to the lack of reinforcements and ammunition. The loss of the town also resulted in the reopening of the government supply-route to the contested city of Daraa. The rebels continued to withdraw from other towns and decided not to face the Army's advance along the highway. On 11 May, the rebels managed to cut a newly build desert road used as an Army supply route between central Syria and Aleppo's airport. On 12 May, government forces took complete control of Khirbet Ghazaleh and secured the highway near the town. By mid-May, due to the recent Army gains in retaking modest, but strategically important, locations, military analysts pointed out that the government would have a major advantage in any future peace talks with the opposition and the West. Pro-government, rebel, and independent analysts credited the government advances to the major restructuring of their forces, which they filled with thousands of militia irregulars trained at least in part by Hezbollah and Iranian advisers in counter-insurgency operations. The government's success was also credited to the shift by the Army from conducting counter-insurgency operations to holding on to strategic areas and not trying to recapture the whole country and crush the rebellion.
On 13 May, government forces captured the towns of Western Dumayna, Haidariyeh, and Esh al-Warwar allowing them to block supplies to the rebels in al-Qusayr. On 16 May, rebels also stated that they recaptured the town of Qaysa, Rif Damascus, after launching a unified counter-offensive. On 17 May, rebels captured four villages in Eastern Hama, including the Alawite town of Tulaysiah. The villages were abandoned by its residents days before the rebels arrived. On 19 May, government forces captured the rebel-held town of Halfaya in Hama governorate. The Syrian army also launched its offensive against the rebel-held town of Qusayr after taking control of surrounding villages and countryside. A military source reported that the Army entered Qusayr, capturing the city center and the municipality building. One opposition activist denied this, but another confirmed it and stated the Army was in control of 60 percent of the city. During the day's fighting, Hezbollah commander Fadi al-Jazar was killed.
An anonymous opposition source told the Associated Press that the attack was launched from the east and the south and that Hezbollah fighters took control of the town hall in a few hours and that by the end of the day, rebel units were pushed out of most of Qusayr. He added that the fighting was now concentred in the northern part of the city. The attack appeared to surprise the rebels, who expected the army to push by the north on several rebel-controlled villages before attacking the city. The turning point of the offensive was reached when Hezbollah fighters took control of the Al Tal area overlooking Qusayr. Several rebels fighters accused some commanders from fleeing the Al tal area at the last minute. Meanwhile SOHR reported that the Syrian army was at the area by the western neighborhood of al-Quseir in order to lay siege on the city itself. On 23 May, rebels captured a military base near the town of Nairab. By 29 May, government forces captured the al-Dabaa air base, north of al-Qusayr. On 1 and 2 June, after heavy fighting, the Syrian Army recaptured three of the Alawite villages that had been previously captured by the rebels in Eastern Hama governorate, after rebel forces retreated from the area. On 5 June, rebel forces withdrew from al-Qusayr, and the Syrian military and its allies took full control of the town. The following day, government forces captured the nearby village of Dabaa.
On 6 June, rebels attacked and temporarily captured the Quneitra border crossing which links the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights with the rest of Syria. However, the same day, government forces counter-attacked with tanks and armoured personnel carriers, recapturing the crossing. On 7 June, Syrian troops backed by Hezbollah captured two villages north of al-Qusayr: Salhiyeh and Masoudiyeh. The next day, they captured the village of Buwaydah, the last rebel-held village in the al-Qusayr region. Between 7 and 14 June, Army troops, government militiamen, and Hezbollah fighters launched operations in Aleppo Governorate. Over a one-week period, government forces had advanced both in Aleppo city and the countryside around the city, pushing back the rebels. However, on 14 June, according to an opposition activist, the tide had started reversing, after rebels managed to halt an armoured reinforcement column from Aleppo city for two government-held Shiite villages northwest of the city. As of 16 June, the rebels had been holding back the column for two days. Rebels claimed they destroyed one tank and killed 20 government soldiers northwest of the town of Maaret al-Arteek. Before the column was stopped, government forces had captured the high ground at Maaret al-Arteek, threatening rebel positions. Government forces also managed to make some advances in the southern part of Aleppo governorate, capturing the village of Ain-Assan village. During the fighting in Aleppo city itself, on 13 June, government forces managed to temporarily advance into the rebel-held Sakhour district from two directions, but were soon repelled. Some described it as just simply another skirmish or possibly a probing attack and not a full assault.
On 10 June, Shia pro-government fighters from the village of Hatla, east of Deir al-Zour, attacked a nearby rebel position, killing four rebels. The next day, in retaliation for the attack, thousands of rebels attacked and captured the village, killing 60 residents, fighters and civilians, according to SOHR. 10 rebel fighters were killed during the attack. At dawn on 13 June, rebels seized an Army position on the northern edge of the town of Morek, which is located on the strategic north-south highway, in fighting that killed six soldiers and two rebels. Later in the day, the Army shelled the base and sent reinforcements in an attempt to recapture the post. On 14 June, the Al Nusra front captured a military barracks near Idlib city, after three days of fighting. On 15 June, the Syrian Army captured the Damascus suburb of Ahmadiyeh near the city's airport. Rebels said fighting began after rebels entered the town to use it as a position to launch mortars on the Damascus airport. They added that fighting was ongoing. On 22 June, the Syrian Army captured the rebel stronghold town of Talkalakh. Four days later, the Army captured the town of Al-Qariatayn, also in Homs governorate.
Continued fighting (July – October 2013)
On 28 June, rebel forces captured a major military checkpoint in the city of Daraa. On 12 July FSA reported that one of its commanders, Kamal Hamami, had been killed by Islamists a day before. The rebels declared that the assassination by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, was tantamount to a declaration of war. On 17 July, FSA forces took control of most of the southern city of Nawa after seizing up to 40 army posts stationed in the city. On 18 July, Kurdish YPG forces secured control of the northern town of Ras al-Ain, after days of fighting with the al-Nusra Front. In the following three months, continued fighting between Kurdish and mainly jihadist rebel forces led to the capture of two dozen towns and villages in Hasakah Governorate by Kurdish fighters, while the Jihadists made limited gains against the Kurds in Aleppo and Raqqah governorates after they turned on the Kurdish rebel group Jabhat al-Akrad over its relationship with the YPG. In Aleppo, Islamists "ethnically cleansed" Kurds from towns in the countryside by massacring them, leading to a mass migration of civilians to the town of Afrin.
On 22 July, FSA fighters seized control of the western Aleppo suburb of Khan al-Asal. The town was the last government stronghold in the western portion of Aleppo governorate, and it was also located on a route linking Aleppo with the rest of the governorate. On 25 July, the Syrian army secured the town of al-Sukhnah, after expelling the al-Nusra Front fighters. On 27 July, after weeks of fighting and bombardment in Homs, the Syrian Army captured the historic Khalid ibn al-Walid Mosque, and two days later, captured the district of Khaldiyeh.
On 4 August, around 10 rebel brigades, backed by heavy weaponry, launched a large-scale offensive on the government stronghold of Latakia Governorate. Initial attacks by 2,000 opposition members seized as many as 12 villages in the mountainous area, taking advantage of the rugged terrain. Between 4 and 5 August, 20 rebels and 32 government soldiers and militiamen had been killed in the clashes. Hundreds of Alawite villagers fled rebel held-villages to Latakia. By 5 August, rebel fighters advanced to 20 kilometers from the town of Qardaha, the home town of the Assad family. However, in mid-August, the military counter-attacked and recaptured all of the territory previously lost to the rebels in the coastal region during the offensive. A Syrian security force source "told AFP the army still had to recapture the Salma region, a strategic area along the border with Turkey that has been in rebel hands since the end of last year." According to a Human Rights Watch report 190 civilians were killed by rebel forces during the offensive, including at least 67 being executed. Another 200 civilians, primarily women and children, were taken hostage.
On 6 August, rebels captured all of Menagh Military Airbase in northern Syria after a 10-month siege. The strategic airbase is located on the road between Aleppo city and the Turkish border. On 21 August a chemical attack took place in the Ghouta region of the Damascus countryside, leading to thousands of casualties and several hundred dead in the opposition-held stronghold. The attack was followed by a military offensive by government forces into the area, which had been hotbeds of opposition since the start of the uprising. On 24 August, rebels captured the town of Ariha. However, after 10 days of bombardment, government forces recaptured Ariha on 3 September. On 26 August, rebel forces took over the strategic town of Khanasir in Aleppo governorate which was the government's last supply route for the contested city of Aleppo. On 8 September, rebels led by the al-Nusra Front captured the Christian town of Maaloula, 43 km north of Damascus, The Syrian Army launched a counterattack a few days later, recapturing the town.
On 18 September, members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) overran the FSA-held town of Azaz in the north of the country. The fighting was the most severe since tensions rose between militant factions in Syria earlier in the year. Soon after ISIS captured Azaz, a ceasefire was announced between the rival rebel groups. However, in early October, more fighting between rebels erupted in the town. On 20 September, Alawite militias including the NDF killed 15 civilians in the Sunni village of Sheik Hadid in Hama Governorate. The massacre occurred in retaliation for a rebel capture of the village of Jalma, in Hama, which killed five soldiers, along with the seizure of a military checkpoint which killed 16 soldiers and 10 NDF militiamen. In mid-September, the military captured the towns of Deir Salman and Shebaa on the outskirts of Damascus. The Army also captured six villages from opposition forces in eastern Homs. This would prove to be only temporary as fighting broke out in those towns again in October.
On 28 September, rebels seized the Ramtha border post in Daraa Governorate on the Syria Jordan crossing after days of fighting which left 26 soldiers dead along with 7 foreign rebel fighters. On 3 October, AFP reported that Syria's army re-took the strategic town of Khanasir, which is located on a key supply route linking central Syria to the city of Aleppo. Opposition forces had cut off the army's supply route to Aleppo when they seized the town and nearby villages in August. On 7 October, the Syrian Army managed to reopen the supply route between Aleppo and Khanasir, days after recapturing Khanasir itself.
On 9 October, rebels seized the Hajanar guard post on the Jordanian border near Daraa after a month of fierce fighting. Its fall meant rebels were now in control of a swath of territory along the border from outside of Daraa to the edge of Golan Heights. The same day, Hezbollah and Iraqi Shiite fighters, backed up by artillery, air-strikes and tanks, attacked and captured the town of Sheikh Omar, on the southern outskirts of Damascus. Two days later, the Lebanese and Iraqis also captured the towns of al-Thiabiya and Husseiniya on the southern approaches to Damascus. The capture of the three towns, located between the two main highways leading to Jordan, strengthened the government hold on major supply lines and put more pressure on rebels under siege in the Eastern Ghouta area. On 14 October, SOHR reported that rebels captured the Resefa and Sinaa districts of Deir ez-Zor city, as well as Deir ez-Zor's military hospital.
Government and Hezbollah offensives (October 2013 – December 2013)
The Syrian Army along with its allies, Hezbollah and the al-Abas brigade, launched an offensive on two key fronts, Damascus and Aleppo. On 16 October, AFP reported that Syrian troops recaptured the strategic town of Bweida, south of Damascus. According to SOHR, government troops had been supported by Hezbollah and al-Abbas brigade fighters. On 17 October, the Syrian government's head of Military Intelligence in Deir ez-Zor Governorate, Major General Jameh Jameh, was assassinated by rebels in Deir ez-Zor city. SOHR reported that he had been shot by a rebel sniper in the Rashdiya district of the city during a battle with rebel brigades. On 24 October, the Syrian army retook control of the town of Hatetat al-Turkman, located southeast of Damascus, along the Damascus International Airport road.
On 26 October, Kurdish rebel fighters seized control of the strategic Yarubiya border crossing between Syria and Iraq from Al Nusra after three days of clashes in Al Hasakah Governorate. Elsewhere, in Daraa Governorate, rebel fighters captured the town of Tafas from government forces after weeks of clashes which left scores dead. On 1 November, the Syrian army retook control of the key city of Al-Safira and the next day, the Syrian Army and its allies recaptured the village of Aziziyeh on the northern outskirts of Al-Safira. From early to mid-November, Syrian Army forces captured several towns south of Damascus, including Hejeira and Sbeineh. Government forces also recaptured the town of Tel Aran, southeast of Aleppo, and a military base near Aleppo's international airport.
On 10 November, the Syrian army had taken full control of "Base 80", which is near Aleppo's airport. According to the SOHR, 63 rebels, including at least 11 foreign fighters, and 32 soldiers were killed during the battle. One other report put the number of rebels killed between 60 and 80. Army units were backed-up by Hezbollah fighters and pro-government militias during the assault. The following day, government forces recaptured several nearby positions, securing most of the area around the airport. On 13 November, government forces captured most of Hejeira, with some pockets of resistance still remaining. Rebels retreated from Hejeira to Al-Hajar al-Aswad. However, their defenses in besieged districts closer to the heart of Damascus were still reportedly solid. On 15 November, the Syrian Army retook control of the city of Tell Hassel near Aleppo. On 18 November, the Syrian troops stormed the town of Babbila. On 19 November, government forces took full control of Qara. The same day, the Syrian army captured al-Duwayrinah. On 23 November, al-Nusra Front and other Islamist rebels captured the al-Omar oil field, Syria's largest oil field, in Deir al-Zor governorate causing the government to rely almost entirely on imported oil. On 24 November, rebels captured the towns of Bahariya, Qasimiya, Abbadah, and Deir Salman in Damascus's countryside. On 28 November, the Syrian army recaptured Deir Attiyeh.
On 2 December, rebels led by the Free Syrian army recaptured the historic Christian town of Ma'loula after 3 days of fighting. After the fighting, reports emerged that 12 nuns had been abducted by the rebels. However, the FSA disputes this and said that the nuns had been evacuated due to Syrian Army shelling and had moved them to the nearby rebel held town of Yabrud. In early December, the Islamic Front seized control of Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey, which had been in hands of FSA. The groups also captured warehouses containing equipment delivered by the U.S. In response, the U.S. and Britain said they halted all non-lethal aid to the FSA, fearing that further supplies could fall in hands of al-Qaeda militants. On 10 December, the Army took full control of An-Nabk, with fighting continuing in its outskirts.
Fighting between ISIS and other rebel groups (January – March 2014)
Tension between moderate rebel forces and ISIS had been high since ISIS attacked and captured the border town of Azaz from FSA forces on 18 September 2013. Conflict was renewed over Azaz in early October and in late November ISIS captured the border town of Atme from an FSA brigade. On 3 January 2014, the Army of the Mujahideen, the Free Syrian Army and the Islamic Front launched an offensive against ISIS-held territory in Aleppo and Idlib provinces. A spokesman for the rebels said that rebels attacked ISIS in up to 80% of all ISIS held villages in Idlib and 65% of those in Aleppo.
By 6 January, opposition rebels managed to expel ISIS forces from the city of Raqqa, ISIS's largest stronghold and capital of the Raqqa province. On 8 January, opposition rebels expelled most ISIS forces from the city of Aleppo, however ISIS reinforcements from the Deir Ezzor province managed to retake several neighborhoods of the city of Raqqa. By mid January ISIS fighters retook the entire city of Raqqa, while rebels expelled ISIS fighters fully from Aleppo city and the villages west of it.
On 29 January, Turkish aircraft near the border fired on an ISIS convoy inside the Aleppo Provence of Syria, killing 11 ISIS fighters and 1 ISIS emir. In late January it was confirmed that rebels had assassinated ISIS's second in command, Haji Bakr, who was al-Qaeda's military council head and a former military officer in Saddam Hussein's army. By mid-February, the Al-Nusra Front joined the battle in support of rebel forces, and expelled ISIS forces from the Deir Ezzor province. By March, the ISIS forces fully retreated from the Idlib province. On 4 March, ISIS retreated from the Aleppo-Turkey border town of Azaz and other nearby villages, choosing instead to consolidate around Raqqa in an anticipation of an escalation of fighting with Al Nusra.
Continued Government and Hezbollah offensive (March 2014)
On 4 March, the Syrian army took control of Sahel in the mountainous Qalamoun region. On 8 March, government forces took over Zara, a strategic town in Homs province, further blocking rebel supply routes from Lebanon. On 11 March, Government forces and Hezbollah took control of the Rima Farms region, positioning themselves directly facing Yabrud. On 16 March, Hezbollah and government forces captured Yabrud, after Free Syrian Army fighters made an unexpected withdrawal, leaving the Al Nusra Front to fight in the city on its own. On 18 March, Israel used artillery against Syrian Army base, after four of its soldiers had been wounded by a roadside bomb while patrolling Golan Heights.
On 19 March, the Syrian army captured Ras al-Ain near Yabrud, after two days of fighting and al-Husn in Homs province, while rebels in the Daraa Province captured Daraa prison, and freed hundreds of detainees. On 20 March, the Syrian army took control of the Krak des Chevaliers in al-Husn. On 29 March, Syrian army took control of the villages of Flita and Ras Maara near the border with Lebanon.
Continued fighting (March – May 2014)
On 22 March, rebels took control of the Kesab border post in the Latakia Province. By 23 March, rebels had taken most of Khan Sheikhoun in Hama. During clashes near the rebel-controlled Kesab border post in Latakia, Hilal Al Assad, NDF leader in Latakia (who also founded the NDF) and one of Bashar Al Assad's cousins was killed by rebel fighters. On 4 April, rebels captured the town of Babulin, Idlib, located on the main highway. On 9 April, the Syrian army took control of Rankous in the Qalamoun region. On 12 April, rebels in Aleppo stormed the government-held Ramouseh industrial district in an attempt to cut the Army supply route between the airport and a large Army base. The rebels also took the Rashidin neighbourhood and parts of the Jamiat al-Zahra district. On 26 April, the Syrian army took control of Al-Zabadani. According to SOHR, rebels took control of Tell Ahrmar, Quneitra. Rebels in Daraa also took over Brigade 61 Base and the 74th battalion.
On 26 April, the FSA announced they had begun an offensive against ISIS in the Raqqa province, and had seized five towns west of Raqqa city. On 29 April, activists said that the Syrian army captured Tal Buraq near the town of Mashara in Quneitra without any clashes. On 7 May, a truce went into effect in the city of Homs, SOHR reported. The terms of the agreement include safe evacuation of Islamist fighters from the city, which would then fall under government control, in exchange for release of prisoners and safe passage of humanitarian aid for Nubul and Zahraa, two Shiite enclaves besieged by the rebels. On 18 May, the head of Syria's Air Defense, General Hussein Ishaq, died of wounds sustained during a rebel attack on an air defense base near Mleiha the previous day. In Hama governorate, rebel forces took control of the town of Tel Malah, killing 34 pro-Assad fighters at an army post near the town. Its seizure marked the third time rebels have taken control of the town.
Presidential election (June 2014)
Syria held a presidential election in government-held areas on 3 June 2014. For the first time in the history of Syria more than one person was allowed to stand as a presidential candidate. More than 9,000 polling stations were set up in government-held areas. According to the Supreme Constitutional Court of Syria, 11.63 million Syrians voted (the turnout was 73.42%). President Bashar al-Assad won the election with 88.7% of the votes. As for Assad's challengers, Hassan al-Nouri received 4.3% of the votes and Maher Hajjar received 3.2%. The Interior Ministry said there were 15.8 million eligible voters, both inside and outside Syria. Tens of thousands of Syrians abroad voted in the week leading up to the 3 June election day, although many of the more than 2.7 million Syrian refugees across the region either abstained or were excluded by voting laws. Belgium, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE and the United States did not allow the elections to be held in the Syrian embassy. The vote did not take place in 40-60% of Syria, due to the areas being under rebel control. The areas under Kurdish militia control also did not allow voting, though some people still traveled to government held areas to vote. Rebels threatened attacks to disrupt the polls in government-held areas. The civilian death toll from shelling from the rebel side was at least 12. Syrian government warplanes bombed rebel areas while elections were held.
There were observers from more than 30 countries including Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, India, Iran, Iraq, Nicaragua, Russia, Pakistan, South Africa and Venezuela. This delegation of observers, according to the The Guardian led by the government's chief international supporters, said Syria's election was transparent and free and the delegation blamed the US and its allies for 'crimes committed against the Syrian people.' Many critics of the Syrian government have denounced the election as "rigged" and "a farce", There were no independent monitors stationed at the polling stations. State employees were told to vote or face interrogation.
Continued fighting (June 2014 – July 2014)
Starting on 5 June, ISIS forces seized swathes of territory in Iraq in addition to heavy weapons and equipment from the Iraqi army, some of which they brought into Syria. Government airstrikes targeted ISIS bases in Raqqa and Hasakah in coordination with an Iraqi army counteroffensive. On 14 June, government forces retook the border town of Kessab in northern Latakia province, while rebels took over Tall al-Gomo near the town of Nawa in the Daraa Governorate, as well as reentering the Qalamoun area.
ISIS offensive and continued fighting (July 2014 - ongoing)
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, on 17 July 2014 Islamic State took control of the Sha'ar oil field, killing 90 pro-Assad forces while losing 21 Islamic State fighters. In addition, 270 guards and government-aligned fighters were missing, captured, or killed. About 30 government persons managed to escape to the nearby Hajjar field. On 20 July, the Syrian Army managed to secure the field, although fighting continued in its outskirts.
On July 25, the Islamic State took control of Base 17 near Raqqa.
On 7 August, Islamic State forces took the 93rd brigade Syrian army military base in Raqqa. ISIS used weapons captured from their offensive in Iraq to carry out the attack. Multiple suicide bombs also went off before the base was stormed.
On 13 August, IS forces took the towns of Akhtarin and Turkmanbareh from rebels in the Northern province of Aleppo. Islamic State forces also took a handful of nearby villages from other rebels. The other towns seized include Masoudiyeh, Dabiq and Ghouz. Rebels are now concerned about supply routes.
Also on 13 August, around 31 rebel fighters and eight Islamic State fighters were killed in fierce clashes in Aleppo province. On 14 August, Free Syrian Army commander Sharif As-Safouri admitted working with Israel and receiving anti-tank weapons from Israel and FSA soldiers also received medical treatment inside Israel.  On 14 August, the Syrian army as well as Hezbollah militias retook the town of Mleiha. The Supreme Military Council of the FSA denied claims of Mleiha's seizure, rather the rebels have redeployed from recent advances to other defensive lines. Mleiha is strategically located just outside Damascus and has been held by the Islamic Front. Rebels had used the town to fire mortars and shell government held areas inside Damascus.   
Meanwhile ISIS forces in Raqqa were launching a siege on Tabqa airbase, the Syrian government's last military base in Raqqa. Kuwaires airbase in Aleppo also came under fierce attack by ISIS.
On 16 August, the Kurdish and Syrian News Agency reported that 22 people were killed in the Southern village of Deraa by a car bomb which was detonated outside a mosque. The bomb was thought to be detonated by ISIS. Also on 16 August, fighters from the Islamic State seized the village of Beden in Aleppo province from rebels.
On 17 August, fighter jets from the Syrian air force carried out airstrikes on Islamic State positions in Ar Raqqa killing and wounding dozens of fighters. Several of the airstrikes targeted IS military councils. Also, the Syrian Army told all residents to leave the Lebanese village of Tfail because the Syrian army would be shelling it soon. 
On 18 August there were reports that the US Air force had carried out airstrikes on Islamic State militants in Raqqa Province. The Syrian military denied that there were any US air strikes in Syria.
On 19 August, a senior figure in the Islamic State who had prepared planned car and suicide bombs across Syria, Lebanon and Iraq was killed. Some reports said that he was killed when a bomb was detonated which was attached to his car by Hezbollah fighters. There were also several reports that he was killed by the Syrian army in the Qalamoun region, near the border with Lebanon.
On 19 August, American journalist James Foley was executed by ISIS, who claimed it was in retaliation for the United States operations in Iraq. Foley was kidnapped in Syria in 2012 by Shabiha militia, and later held in an airforce intelligence complex in Damascus. ISIS also threatened to execute Steven Sotloff, who was kidnapped at the Syrian-Turkish border in 2013. There are reports ISIS captured a Japanese national, two Italian nationals, and a Danish national as well. Syria has become the most dangerous country in the world for journalists; at least 70 have been killed covering the war, and more than 80 kidnapped, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
On the 21st of August, the Syrian army killed more than 140 Islamic State fighters in an ambush in Ar-Raqqa province. Around 7 Syrian soldiers were also killed. The Syrian air force also carried out around 15 airstrikes in Raqqa province. 
Advanced weaponry and tactics
A UN fact-finding mission was requested by member states to investigate 16 alleged chemical weapons attacks. Seven of them have been investigated (nine were dropped for lack of "sufficient or credible information") and in four cases the UN inspectors confirmed use of sarin gas. The reports, however, did not blame any party of using chemical weapons. Many countries, including the United States and the European Union have accused the Syrian government of conducting several chemical attacks, the most serious of them being the 2013 Ghouta attacks, though these attacks have also been attributed to rebel forces by the Syrian government, Russia, and Iran.
The Syrian government and its Russian ally have accused rebels of conducting several chemical attacks, the most serious of which was the Khan al-Assal chemical attack. The Khan al-Assal attack took place on 19 March 2013, and was reported on Syrian state news agency, SANA. That missiles containing "chemical materials" may have been fired into the Khan al-Assal district in Aleppo and the Al Atebeh suburbs of Damascus, resulting in 25 dead. Both sides immediately accused each other of carrying out the attack, but neither side presented clear documentation.
On 29 April, another chemical attack was reported, this time in Saraqib, in which 2 died and 13 were injured. On 5 May, Turkish doctors said initial test show no traces of sarin had been found in the blood samples of victims. French intelligence acquired blood, urine, earth and munitions samples from victims or sites of attacks on Saraqib, on 29 April 2013, and Jobar, in mid April 2013. The analysis carried out confirms the use of sarin. On 13 June, the United States claimed that there is definitive proof that the Assad government has used limited amounts of chemical weapons on multiple occasions on rebel forces, killing 100 to 150 people, but no proof was presented. The journalist Seymour Hersh has attributed the August attacks to a Turkish plot. Hersh claims internal US intelligence assessments by the CIA and DIA concluded that rebel forces also possessed chemical weapons capability, and that US forces would risk rebel sarin attack if deployed to Syria.
On 5 August, another chemical attack by the Syrian army was reported by the opposition, who documented the injured with video footage. The activists say up to 400 people were effected by the attack in Adra and Houma of the Damascus suburbs. The content of the chemicals used has not been identified yet. On 21 August, Jobar, Zamalka, 'Ain Tirma, and Hazzah in the Eastern Ghouta region were struck with chemical weapons. At least 635 people were killed in the nerve gas attacks. The Ghouta chemical attacks were confirmed after a three-week investigation conducted by the UN, who also confirmed the main agent used in the chemical attacks was sarin gas. The Mission "collected clear and convincing evidence that surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve agent sarin were used in the Ein Tarma, Moadamiyah and Zalmalka in the Ghouta area of Damascus." A U.N. report of 2014 found that 'the evidence available concerning the nature, quality and quantity of the agents used on 21 August indicated that the perpetrators likely had access to the chemical weapons stockpile of the Syrian military, as well as the expertise and equipment necessary' and that the chemical agents used in the Khan al-Assal chemical attack on 19 March 2013 'bore the same unique hallmarks' as those used in Al-Ghouta attack.
On 12 April 2014, Chemical weapons were used again in Syria, this time on the town of Kafr Zita, Hama (see 2014 Kafr Zita chemical attack). Doctors on the ground said they believed the agent to be chlorine gas. Within days of the attack, analysts said they were moving towards a belief that there is 'a coordinated chlorine campaign with growing evidence that it is the government side dropping the bombs'. After a preliminary investigation of claims that the Syrian government has still been using chlorine gas on rebel controlled towns, the OPCW had confirmed based on soil samples and field-doctor testimony that chemical weapons were in all likelihood still being used.
Destruction of Syria's chemical weapons
On 9 September 2013, Russia urged Syria to put its' chemical weapons stockpile under international control. The initiative was expressed in the wake of American threat of attacking Syria after the chemical attack of 21 August. On 14 September, US and Russia announced in Geneva that they reached a deal on how Assad should give up his chemical weapons. On 23 June 2014, the OPCW Director General Ahmet Üzümcü told reporters at a press conference that the last shipment of declared chemical weapons had left Syria on the Danish ship MV Ark Futura. The entire chemical weapons stockpile was scheduled to be completely removed from the country by 6 February 2014, but fighting and the threat of attack by rebel groups severely delayed the removal process. Early on Wednesday 2 July 2014, Ark Futura arrived the port Gioia Tauro in southern Italy. During the day, 78 containers with Syrias highest-priority chemicals were transported onto the U.S. cargo ship MV Cape Ray for destruction at sea. The transloading took place without incidents. On 7 July 2014, the destruction began at Cape Ray. It was expected to take about 60 days, and was completed long before schedule. On 19 August 2014, the OPCW Director General Ahmet Üzümcü confirmed that all chemical arms onboard the US ship Cape Ray was neutralized. Cape Ray will now sail to Germany and Finland where the effluent will be eliminated at industrial waste management companies.
On 15 July 2014, Ark Futura arrived at Marchwood Military Port in the United Kingdom, where it offloaded the rest of Syria's Priority 1 chemicals for transportation to an destruction at Veolias hazardous waste facilities in Ellesmere Port. It then headed to Finland with some Priority 2 chemicals to be destroyed at a commercial facility at Riihimäki. The Norwegian vessel MV Taiko, has already delivered a consignment of Priority 2 chemicals to Finland for destruction at Riihimäki. On 9 July 2014, Taiko arrived at Port Arthur in Texas, where the rest of the Priority 2 chemicals was offloaded and will be destroyed at a commercial facility there. Some military experts and observers suspect that the Syrian government may not have revealed the full extent of their stockpile and chemical capabilities.
On 7 August 2014, the OPCW confirmed that 74.2 % of Syria's CW stockpile has been destroyed so far.
The Syrian army began using cluster bombs in September 2012. Steve Goose, director of the Arms division at Human Rights Watch said "Syria is expanding its relentless use of cluster munitions, a banned weapon, and civilians are paying the price with their lives and limbs,” "The initial toll is only the beginning because cluster munitions often leave unexploded bomblets that kill and maim long afterward."
Scud missile attacks
In December 2012, the Syrian government began using Scud missiles on rebel-held towns, primarily targeting Aleppo. On 19 February, four Scud missiles were fired, three landed in Aleppo city and one on Tell Rifaat town, Aleppo governorate. Between December and February, at least 40 Scud missile landings were reported. Altogether, Scud missiles killed 141 people in the month of February. The United States condemned the Scud missile attacks. On 1 March, a Scud missile landed in Iraq. It is believed that the intention was to hit the Deir Ezzor governorate. On 29 March, a Scud missile landed on Hretan, Aleppo, killing 20 and injuring 50. On 28 April, a Scud missile landed on Tell Rifaat, killing four, two of them women and two of them children, SOHR reported. On 3 June, a surface to surface missile, not confirmed as a Scud, hit the village of Kafr Hamrah around midnight killing 26 people including six women and eight children according to SOHR.
Rebel suicide bombings began in December 2011; the Al-Nusra Front has claimed responsibility for 57 out of 70 similar attacks through April 2013. The bombings have claimed numerous civilian casualties.
A barrel bomb is a type of improvised explosive device used by the Syrian Air Force. Typically, a barrel is filled with a large amount of TNT, and possibly shrapnel (such as nails) and oil, and dropped from a helicopter. The resulting detonation can be devastating.
Thermobaric weapons, also known as "fuel-air bombs," have been used by the government side during the Syrian civil war. Since 2012, rebels have said that the Syrian Air Force (government forces) is using thermobaric weapons against residential areas occupied by the rebel fighters, such as during the Battle of Aleppo and also in Kafr Batna. A panel of United Nations human rights investigators reported that the Syrian government used thermobaric bombs against the strategic town of Qusayr in March 2013. In August 2013, the BBC reported on the use of napalm-like incendiary bombs on a school in northern Syria.
Syrian government and affiliated parties
Before the uprising and war broke out, the force of the Syrian Army was estimated at 325,000 regular troops, of which 220,000 were ‘army troops’ and the rest in the navy, air force and air defenses. There were also approximately 280,000-300,000 reservists. Since June 2011, defections of soldiers have been reported. By July 2012, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimated that tens of thousands of soldiers have defected, and a Turkish official estimated that 60,000 soldiers have defected. According to Western experts, these defections have not as yet decreased the strength of the Syrian military, since the defecting soldiers were mainly Sunnis without access to vital command and control in the army.
National Defense Force
The Syrian NDF was formed out of pro-government militias. They receive their salaries, and their military equipment from the government, and numbers around 100,000. The force acts in an infantry role, directly fighting against rebels on the ground and running counter-insurgency operations in coordination with the army, which provides them logistical and artillery support. The force has a 500-strong women's wing called "Lionesses of National Defense" which operates checkpoints. NDF soldiers are allowed to take loot from battlefields, which can then be sold for extra money.
The Shabiha are unofficial pro-government militias drawn largely from Assad's Alawite minority group. Since the uprising, the Syrian government has frequently used shabiha to break up protests and enforce laws in restive neighborhoods. As the protests escalated into an armed conflict, the opposition started using the term shabiha to describe any civilian Assad supporter taking part in the government's crackdown on the uprising. The opposition blames the shabiha for the many violent excesses committed against anti-government protesters and opposition sympathizers, as well as looting and destruction. In December 2012, the shabiha were designated a terrorist organization by the United States.
Bassel al-Assad is reported to have created the shabiha in the 1980s for government use in times of crisis. Shabiha have been described as "a notorious Alawite paramilitary, who are accused of acting as unofficial enforcers for Assad's regime"; "gunmen loyal to Assad", and, according to the Qatar-based Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, "semi-criminal gangs comprised of thugs close to the regime". Despite the group's image as an Alawite militia, some shabiha operating in Aleppo have been reported to be Sunnis. In 2012, the Assad government created a more organized official militia known as the Jaysh al-Sha'bi, allegedly with help from Iran and Hezbollah. As with the shabiha, the vast majority of Jaysh al-Sha'bi members are Alawite and Shi'ite volunteers.
Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011, the PFLP-GC was an ally of the Ba'ath Party government of Syria, led by the Al-Assad family. The PFLP-GC was based in Yarmouk Camp – a district of Damascus that is home to the biggest community of Palestinian refugees in Syria. Several members of the PFLP-GC's central committee opposed this alliance with the Assad government and resigned in protest. During the war, it helped the Syrian Army to fight the Syrian rebels in and around Yarmouk.
General Secretary Nasrallah denied Hezbollah had been fighting on behalf of the Syrian government, stating in a 12 October 2012 speech that "right from the start the Syrian opposition has been telling the media that Hezbollah sent 3,000 fighters to Syria, which we have denied". However, according to the Lebanese Daily Star newspaper, Nasrallah said in the same speech that Hezbollah fighters helped the Syrian government "retain control of some 23 strategically located villages [in Syria] inhabited by Shiites of Lebanese citizenship". Nasrallah said that Hezbollah fighters have died in Syria doing their "jihadist duties". In 2012, Hezbollah fighters crossed the border from Lebanon and took over eight villages in the Al-Qusayr District of Syria. The former secretary general of Hezbollah, Sheikh Subhi al-Tufayli, confirmed in February 2013 that Hezbollah was fighting for the Syrian army.
On 12 May, Hezbollah, with the Syrian army, attempted to retake part of Qusayr. By the end of the day, 60 percent of the city, including the municipal office building, were under pro-Assad forces. In Lebanon, there have been "a recent increase in the funerals of Hezbollah fighters" and "Syrian rebels have shelled Hezbollah-controlled areas." As of 14 May, Hezbollah fighters were reported to be fighting alongside the Syrian army, particularly in the Homs Governorate. Hassan Nasrallah has called on Shiites and Hezbollah to protect the shrine of Sayida Zeinab. President Bashar al-Assad denied in May 2013 that there were foreign fighters, Arab or otherwise, fighting for the government in Syria.
On 25 May, Nasrallah announced that Hezbollah was fighting in the Syria against Islamic extremists and "pledged that his group will not allow Syrian militants to control areas that border Lebanon". He confirmed that Hezbollah was fighting in the strategic Syrian town of Qusayr on the same side as Assad's forces. In the televised address, he said, "If Syria falls in the hands of America, Israel and the takfiris, the people of our region will go into a dark period." According to independent analysts, by the beginning of 2014, approximately 500 Hezbollah fighters had died in the Syrian conflict.
Since the start of the civil war, Iran has expressed its support for the Syrian government and has provided it with financial, technical, and military support, including training and some combat troops. Iran and Syria are close strategic allies. Iran sees the survival of the Syrian government as being crucial to its regional interests. Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, was reported in September 2011 to be vocally in favor of the Syrian government. In the civil uprising phase of the Syrian civil war, Iran provided Syria with technical support based on Iran's capabilities developed following the 2009–2010 Iranian election protests. As the uprising developed into the Syrian civil war, there were increasing reports of Iranian military support, and of Iranian training of NDF (National Defence Forces) both in Syria, and in Iran.
Iranian security and intelligence services are advising and assisting the Syrian military to preserve Bashar al-Assad's hold on power. Those efforts include training, technical support, combat troops. By December 2013 Iran was thought to have approximately 10,000 operatives in Syria. Lebanese Hezbollah fighters backed by Tehran has taken direct combat roles since 2012. In the summer of 2013, Iran and Hezbollah provided important battlefield support for Assad, allowing it to make advances on the opposition. In 2014, coinciding with the peace talks at Geneva II, Iran has stepped up support for Syrian President Assad. Syrian Minister of Finance and Economy announced that "Iranian regime has given more than 15 billion dollars" to Syria. Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force commander Qasem Suleimani is in charge of Syrian President Assad's security portfolio and has overseen the arming and training of thousands of pro-government Shi'ite fighters.
Syrian National Council
Formed on 23 August 2011, the National Council is a coalition of anti-government groups, based in Turkey. The National Council seeks the end of Bashar al-Assad's rule and the establishment of a modern, civil, democratic state. SNC has links with the Free Syrian Army. In November 2012, the council agreed to unify with several other opposition groups to form the Syrian National Coalition. The SNC has 22 out of 60 seats of the Syrian National Coalition.
Syrian National Coalition
On 11 November 2012 in Doha, the National Council and other opposition forces united as the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. The following day, it was recognized as the legitimate government of Syria by numerous Persian Gulf states. Delegates to the Coalition's leadership council are to include women and representatives of religious and ethnic minorities, including Alawites. The military council will reportedly include the Free Syrian Army. The main aims of the National Coalition are replacing the Bashar al-Assad government and "its symbols and pillars of support", "dismantling the security services", unifying and supporting the Free Syrian Army, refusing dialogue and negotiation with the al-Assad government, and "holding accountable those responsible for killing Syrians, destroying [Syria], and displacing [Syrians]".
Free Syrian Army
The formation of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) was announced in late July 2011 by a group of defecting Syrian Army officers. In a video, the men called upon Syrian soldiers and officers to defect to their ranks, and said the purpose of the Free Syrian Army was to defend civilian protesters from violence by the state. Many Syrian soldiers subsequently deserted to join the FSA. The actual number of soldiers who defected to the FSA is uncertain, with estimates ranging from 1,000 to over 25,000 by December 2011. The FSA functions more as an umbrella organization than a traditional military chain of command, and is "headquartered" in Turkey. As such, it cannot issue direct orders to its various bands of fighters, but many of the most effective armed groups are fighting under the FSA's banner.
As deserting government soldiers abandoned their armored vehicles and brought only light weaponry and munitions, FSA adopted guerilla-style tactics against government security forces in urban areas. Initially, its primary target has been the Shabiha militias; most FSA attacks are directed against trucks and buses that are believed to carry security reinforcements. Sometimes, the occupants of government vehicles are taken as hostages, while in other cases the vehicles are attacked either with roadside bombs or with hit-and-run attacks. To encourage defection, the FSA began attacking army patrols, shooting the commanders and trying to convince the soldiers to switch sides. FSA units have also acted as defense forces by guarding neighborhoods with strong opposition presences, patrolling streets while protests take place, and attacking Shabiha members. As the insurgency grew, the FSA began engaging in urban battles against the Syrian Army.
In May 2013, Salim Idriss, one of the FSA leaders, acknowledged that rebels were badly fragmented and lacked the military skill needed to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad. He said it was difficult to unify rebels because many of them were civilians and only a few of them had military service. Idriss said he was working on a countrywide command structure, but that a lack of material support was hurting that effort. He pointed out shortage of ammunition and weapons, fuel for the cars and money for logistics and salaries. "The battles are not so simple now,” Idriss said. "At the beginning of the revolution, they had to fight against a checkpoint. They had to fight against a small group of the army. Now they have to liberate an air base. Now they have to liberate a military school. Small units can't do that alone, and now it is very important for them to be unified. But unifying them in a manner to work like a regular army is still difficult." He denied any cooperation with Al-Nusra Front but acknowledged common operations with another Islamist group Ahrar ash-Sham. In April the US announced it would transfer $123 million of aid through his group. In late September, it was reported that the Army and rebels in some areas have ceased hostilities, and individual FSA-linked parties have begun attempts to start dialogue.
In September 2013, US Secretary of State John Kerry stated that extremist groups make up 15–25% of rebel forces. According to Charles Lister, about 12% of rebels are part of groups linked to al-Qaeda, 18% belong to Ahrar ash-Sham, and 9% belong to Suqour al-Sham Brigade. Foreign fighters have joined the conflict in opposition to Assad. While most of them are jihadists, some individuals, such as Mahdi al-Harati, have joined to support the Syrian opposition.
The ICSR estimates that 2,000–5,500 foreign fighters have gone to Syria since the beginning of the protests, about 7–11 percent of whom came from Europe. It is also estimated that the number of foreign fighters does not exceed 10 percent of the opposition armed forces. Another estimate puts the number of foreign jihadis at 15,000 by early 2014), The European Commission expressed concerns that some of the fighters might use their skills obtained in Syria to commit acts of terrorism back in Europe in the future.
In October 2012, various Iraqi religious groups join the conflict in Syria on both sides. Radical Sunnis from Iraq, have traveled to Syria to fight against President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian government. Also, Shiites from Iraq, in Babil Province and Diyala Province, have traveled to Damascus from Tehran, or from the Shiite Islamic holy city of Najaf, Iraq to protect Sayyida Zeinab, an important mosque and shrine of Shia Islam in Damascus.
In September 2013, leaders of 13 powerful rebel brigades rejected Syrian National Coalition and called Sharia law "the sole source of legislation". In a statement they declared that "the coalition and the putative government headed by Ahmad Tomeh does not represent or recognize us". Among the signatory rebel groups were Al-Nusra Front, Ahrar ash-Sham and Al-Tawheed. In November 2013, seven Islamist groups combined to form the Islamic Front.
The al-Nusra Front, being the biggest jihadist group in Syria, is often considered to be the most aggressive and violent part of the opposition. Being responsible for over 50 suicide bombings, including several deadly explosions in Damascus in 2011 and 2012, it is recognized as a terrorist organization by Syrian government and was designated as such by United States in December 2012. In April 2013, the leader of the Islamic state of Iraq released an audio statement announcing that al-Nusra Front is its branch in Syria. The leader of al-Nusra, Abu Mohammad al-Golani, said that the group will not merge with the Islamic State of Iraq, but still maintain allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda.
The relationship between the Al-Nusra Front and the indigenous Syrian opposition is tense, even though al-Nusra Front has fought alongside the FSA in several battles. The Mujahideen's strict religious views and willingness to impose sharia law disturbed many Syrians. Some rebel commanders have accused foreign jihadists of "stealing the revolution", robbing Syrian factories and displaying religious intolerance. Al-Nusra Front has been accused of mistreating religious and ethnic minorities since their formation. The estimated manpower of al-Nusra Front is approximately 6,000–10,000 people, including many foreign fighters. On 10 March 2014, Al Nusra released 13 Christian nuns captured from Malouula, Damascus, in exchange for the release of 150 women from the Syrian government's prisons. The nuns reported that they were treated well by Al Nusra during their captivity, adding that they "were giving us everything we asked for" and that "no one bothered us".
The ISIS, (also called Dā'ash or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or Islamic State) made rapid military gains in Northern Syria starting in April 2013 and as of Mid 2014 controls large parts of that region, where the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights describes it as "the strongest group". It has imposed strict Sharia law over land that it controls. The group was, until 2014, affiliated with al-Qaeda, led by the Iraqi fighter Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and has an estimated 7,000 fighters in Syria, including many non-Syrians. It has been praised as less corrupt than other militia groups, and criticized for abusing human rights and for not tolerating non-Islamist militia groups, foreign journalists or aid workers, whose members it has expelled or imprisoned. According to Michael Weiss, ISIS has not been targeted by the Syrian government "with quite the same gusto" as other rebel factions.
In summer 2014 the Islamic State controlled a third of Syria. It established itself as the dominant force of Syrian opposition, defeating Jabhat al-Nusra in Deir Ezzor province and claiming control over most of Syria's oil and gas production.
Kurds – mostly Sunni Muslims, with a small minority of Yezidis – represented 10% of Syria's population at the start of the uprising in 2011. They had suffered from decades of discrimination and neglect, being deprived of basic civil, cultural, economic, and social rights.:7 When protests began, Assad's government finally granted citizenship to an estimated 200,000 stateless Kurds, in an effort to try and neutralize potential Kurdish opposition. This concession, combined with Turkish endorsement of the opposition and Kurdish under-representation in the Syrian National Council, has resulted in Kurds participating in the civil war in smaller numbers than their Syrian Arab Sunni counterparts. Consequently, violence and state repression in Kurdish areas has been less severe. In terms of a post-Assad Syria, Kurds reportedly desire a degree of autonomy within a decentralized state.
Since the outset of the civil war, numerous Kurdish political parties have organised themselves into an umbrella organisation, the Kurdish National Council. Until October 2011, most of these parties were members of the NCC. After October 2011, only the PYD remained in the NCC, holding a more moderate stance regarding the Assad government. The conflict between the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and Islamists groups such as al-Nusra Front have escalated since a group of Kurds expelled Islamists from the border town of Ras al-Ain.
Sectarianism and minorities
Both the opposition and government have accused each other of employing sectarian agitation. The successive governments of Hafez and Bashar al-Assad have been closely associated with the country's minority Alawite religious group, an offshoot of Shia, whereas the majority of the population, and thus most of the opposition, is Sunni, lending plausibility to such charges, even though both leaderships claim to be secular.
Reporting, censoring and propaganda
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (June 2014)|
Reporting on this war is difficult and dangerous: journalists are being attacked, detained, reportedly tortured, over hundred reportedly killed. Technical facilities (internet, telephone etc.) are being sabotaged by the Syrian government. Both sides in this war try to disqualify their opponent by framing or indicating them with negative labels and terms (‘terrorists’, ‘propaganda’, ‘biased’, ‘foreign conspiracy’), or by presenting false evidence.
The Arab League, European Union, the United Nations, and many Western governments quickly condemned the Syrian government's violent response to the protests, and expressed support for the protesters' right to exercise free speech. Initially, many Middle Eastern governments expressed support for Assad, but as the death toll mounted they switched to a more balanced approach, criticizing violence from both government and protesters. Both the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation suspended Syria's membership. Russia and China vetoed Western-drafted United Nations Security Council resolutions in 2011 and 2012, which would have threatened the Syrian government with targeted sanctions if it continued military actions against protestors. The United Nations prepared an international peace conference in Geneva on 22 January 2014, in which both the Syrian government and opposition have promised to participate.
The international humanitarian response to the conflict in Syria is coordinated by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in accordance with General Assembly Resolution 46/182. The primary framework for this coordination is the Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan (SHARP) which appealed for USD $1.41 billion to meet the humanitarian needs of Syrians affected by the conflict. Official United Nations data on the humanitarian situation and response is available at http://syria.unocha.org/; an official website managed by UNOCHA Syria (Amman). UNICEF is also working alongside these organizations to provide vaccinations and care packages to those in need. It has launched a vaccination campaign to eradicate polio from the region, as 17 cases have come up since the war broke over three years ago.
Financial information on the response to the SHARP, as well as assistance to refugees and for cross-border operations, can be found on UNOCHA's Financial Tracking Service. As at 18 September 2013, the top ten donors to Syria were: United States, European Commission, Kuwait, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Japan, Australia, Saudi Arabia, and Denmark. USAID and other government agencies in US delivered nearly $385 million of aid items to Syria in 2012 and 2013. The United States is providing food aid, medical supplies, emergency and basic health care, shelter materials, clean water, hygiene education and supplies, and other relief supplies. Islamic Relief has stocked 30 hospitals and sent hundreds of thousands of medical and food parcels.
Other countries in the region have also contributed various levels of aid. Iran has been exporting between 500 and 800 tonnes of flour daily to Syria. Israel has provided treatment to 750 Syrians in a field hospital located in Golan Heights. Rebels say that 250 of their fighters received medical treatment there. On 26 April 2013, a humanitarian convoy, inspired by Gaza Flotilla, departed from Turkey to Syria. Called Hayat ("Life"), it is set to deliver aid items to IDPs inside Syria and refugees in neighboring countries: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt. Syrian refugees make up one quarter of Lebanon's population, mostly consisting of women and children.
The World Health Organization has reported that 35% of the country's hospitals are out of service and, depending upon the region, up to 70% of health care professionals have fled. Cases of diarrhoea and hepatitis A have increased by more than twofold since the beginning of 2013. Due to fighting, the normal vaccination programs cannot be undertaken. The displaced refugees may also pose a risk to countries to which they have fled.
The Syrian civil war has received significant international attention, and both the Syrian government and the opposition have received support, militarily and diplomatically, from foreign countries. The major parties supporting the Syrian Government are Iran and Hezbollah. Both of these are involved in the war politically and logistically by providing military equipment, training and battle troops. The Syrian government has also received arms and political support from Russia.
The main Syrian opposition body – the Syrian coalition - receives political, logistic and military support from the United States, Britain and France. The Syrian coalition also receives logistic and political support from major Sunni states in the Middle East, most notably Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia; all the three major supporting states however have not contributed any troops for direct involvement in the war, though Turkey was involved in a number of border incidents with the Syrian Army. Saudi Arabia has emerged as the main group to finance and arm the rebels. According to confessions of a captured FSA commander, the opposition also received minor military support from Israel.
French television channel France 24 reported that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, with perhaps 3,000 foreign jihadists among its ranks, "receives funding via private donations from the Gulf states." The major Syrian Kurdish opposition group, the PYD, was reported to get logistic and training support from Iraqi Kurdistan. Islamist militants in Syria were reported to receive support from private funders, mainly in the Arabian Peninsula area, as well as from al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Estimates of deaths in the conflict vary widely, with figures, per opposition activist groups, ranging from 110,470 and 191,369. On 2 January 2013, the United Nations stated that 60,000 had been killed since the civil war began, with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay saying "The number of casualties is much higher than we expected, and is truly shocking." Four months later, the UN's updated figure for the death toll had reached 80,000. On 13 June, the UN released an updated figure of people killed since fighting began, the figure being exactly 92,901, for up to the end of April 2013. Navi Pillay, UN high commissioner for human rights, stated that: "This is most likely a minimum casualty figure." The real toll was guessed to be over 100,000. Some areas of the country have been affected disproportionately by the war; by some estimates, as many as a third of all deaths have occurred in the city of Homs.
One problem has been determining the number of "armed combatants" who have died, due to some sources counting rebel fighters who were not government defectors as civilians. At least half of those confirmed killed have been estimated to be combatants from both sides, including 52,290 government fighters and 29,080 rebels, with an additional 50,000 unconfirmed combatant deaths. In addition, UNICEF reported that over 500 children had been killed by early February 2012, and another 400 children have been reportedly arrested and tortured in Syrian prisons; both of these claims have been contested by the Syrian government. Additionally, over 600 detainees and political prisoners are known to have died under torture. In mid-October 2012, the opposition activist group SOHR reported the number of children killed in the conflict had risen to 2,300, and in March 2013, opposition sources stated that over 5,000 children had been killed. In January 2014, a report was released detailing the systematic killing of more than 11,000 detainees of the Syrian government.
On 20 August 2014, a new U.N. study concludes at least 191,369 people have died in Syrian conflict. (http://edition.cnn.com/2014/08/22/world/meast/syria-conflict/index.html?hpt=imi_c2)
Once-rare infectious diseases have spread in rebel held areas, primarily affecting children, brought on by the collapse of sanitation and deteriorating living conditions. These include measles, typhoid, hepatitis, dysentery, tuberculosis, diphtheria, whooping cough, leishmaniasis, (a disfiguring parasitic skin disease). Of particular concern is the contagious and crippling Poliomyelitis which as of late 2013 doctors and international public health agencies report more than 90 cases of. Critics of the government complain that it has brought on the spread of disease by cutting off vaccination, sanitation and safe-water services to "areas considered politically unsympathetic" even before the uprising.
The violence in Syria has caused millions to flee their homes. In August 2012, the United Nations said more than one million people were internally displaced, and, in September 2013, the UN reported that more than 6.5 million Syrians had been displaced, of whom 2 million fleeing to neighboring countries, 1 in 3 of those refugees (about 667,000 people) seeking safety in tiny Lebanon (normally 4.8 million population). Others have fled to Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq. Turkey has accepted +1.000.000 (2014) Syrian refugees, half of whom are spread around a cities and dozen camps placed under the direct authority of the Turkish Government. Satellite images confirmed that the first Syrian camps appeared in Turkey in July 2011, shortly after the towns of Deraa, Homs, and Hama were besieged. On 9 October 2012, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that the number of external Syrian refugees stood at between 355,000 to 500,000. In September 2013, the UN stated that the number of Syrian refugees had exceeded 2 million. According to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Sunnis are leaving for Lebanon and undermining Hizbullah’s status. The fleeing Syrian refugees has caused the “Jordan is Palestine” threat to be diminished due to the onslaught of new refugees in Jordan. Additionally, "the West Bank is undergoing emigration pressures which will certainly be copied in Gaza if emigration is allowed."
Human rights violations
According to various human rights organizations and United Nations, human rights violations have been committed by both the government and the rebels, with the 'vast majority of the abuses having been committed by the Syrian government'. The U.N. commission investigating human rights abuses in Syria confirms at least 9 intentional mass killings in the period 2012 to mid-July 2013, identifying the perpetrator as Syrian government and its supporters in eight cases, and the opposition in one.
By late November 2013, according to the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) report entitled “Violence against Women, Bleeding Wound in the Syrian Conflict”, approximately 6,000 women have been raped (including gang-rape) since the start of the conflict - with figures likely to be much higher given that most cases go unreported.
According to three international lawyers, Syrian government officials could face war crimes charges in the light of a huge cache of evidence smuggled out of the country showing the "systematic killing" of about 11,000 detainees. Most of the victims were young men and many corpses were emaciated, bloodstained and bore signs of torture. Some had no eyes; others showed signs of strangulation or electrocution. Experts say this evidence is more detailed and on a far larger scale than anything else that has yet emerged from the 34-month crisis. On 30 January 2014, Human Rights Watch released a report detailing, between June 2012 and July 2013, government forces razing to the ground seven anti-government districts in the cities of Damascus and Hama, equating to an area the size of 200 football fields. Witnesses spoke of explosives and bulldozers being used to knock down buildings. Satellite imagery was provided as part of the report and the destruction was characterized as collective punishment against residents of rebel-held areas.
UN reported also that "siege warfare is employed in a context of egregious human rights and international humanitarian law violations. The warring parties do not fear being held accountable for their acts." Armed forces of both sides of the conflict blocked access of humanitarian convoys, confiscated food, cut off water supplies and targeted farmers working their fields. The report pointed to four places besieged by the government forces: Muadamiyah, Daraya, Yarmouk camp and Old City of Homs, as well as two areas under siege of rebel groups: Aleppo and Hama. In Yarmouk Camp 20,000 residents are facing death by starvation due to blockade by the Syrian government forces and fighting between the army and Jabhat al-Nusra, which prevents food distribution by UNRWA. The UN further stated that government sieges have left more than 250,000 subjected to relentless shelling and bombardment. "They are denied humanitarian aid, food and such basic necessities as medical care, and must choose between surrender and starvation,” the members of the UN Commission of Inquiry said.
By July 2013, the Syrian economy had shrunk 45 percent since the start of the conflict. Unemployment increased fivefold, the value of the Syrian currency decreased to one-sixth its pre-war value, and the public sector lost USD $15 billion.
As the conflict has expanded across Syria, many cities have been engulfed in a wave of crime as fighting caused the disintegration of much of the civilian state, and many police stations stopped functioning. Rates of thievery increased, with criminals looting houses and stores. Rates of kidnappings increased as well. Rebel fighters were sighted stealing cars and destroying an Aleppo restaurant in which Syrian soldiers had eaten.
By July 2012, the human rights group Women Under Siege had documented over 100 cases of rape and sexual assault during the conflict, with many of these crimes believed to be perpetrated by the Shabiha and other pro-government militias. Victims included men, women, and children, with about 80% of the known victims being women and girls.
Criminal networks have been used by both the government and the opposition during the conflict. Facing international sanctions, the Syrian government relied on criminal organizations to smuggle goods and money in and out of the country. The economic downturn caused by the conflict and sanctions also led to lower wages for Shabiha members. In response, some Shabiha members began stealing civilian properties, and engaging in kidnappings.
Rebel forces sometimes relied on criminal networks to obtain weapons and supplies. Black market weapon prices in Syria's neighboring countries have significantly increased since the start of the conflict. To generate funds to purchase arms, some rebel groups have turned towards extortion, stealing, and kidnapping.
The civil war has caused significant damage to Syria's cultural heritage, including World Heritage Sites. Destruction of antiquities has been caused by shelling, army entrenchment, and looting at various tells, museums, and monuments. A group called Syrian Archaeological Heritage Under Threat is monitoring and recording the destruction in an attempt to create a list of heritage sites damaged during the war and gain global support for the protection and preservation of Syrian archaeology and architecture.
UNESCO listed all six Syria's World Heritage sites as endangered but direct assessment of damage is not possible. It is known that the Old City of Aleppo was heavily damaged during battles being fought within the district, while Palmyra and Crac des Chevaliers suffered minor damage. Illegal digging is considered a grave danger, and hundreds of Syrian antiquities, including some from Palmyra, appeared in Lebanon. Three archeological museums are known to have been looted; in Raqqa some artifacts seem to have been destroyed by foreign Islamists due to religious objections.
With porous borders with most of its neighbors, the fighting has spilled over them, causing fears of a regional war. In June 2014, members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) crossed the border from Syria into northern Iraq, and have taken control of large swaths of Iraqi territory as the Iraqi Army abandoned its positions. The Syrian Civil War has led to incidents of sectarian violence in northern Lebanon between supporters and opponents of the Syrian government, and armed clashes between Sunnis and Alawites in Tripoli. Fighting between rebels and government forces has spilled into Lebanon on several occasions.
- "Syriacs establish military council in Syria". Hürriyet Daily News. 2 February 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
- "Bürgerkrieg : Die Christen in Syrien ziehen in die Schlacht - Nachrichten Politik - Ausland - DIE WELT". Welt.de. 23 October 2013. Retrieved 10 December 2013.
- Wood, Josh (6 February 2013). "Syria's Kurds try to balance security and alliances". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- Saeed Kamali Dehghan (28 May 2012). "Syrian army being aided by Iranian forces". The Guardian.
- Daftari, Lisa (28 August 2012). "Iranian general admits 'fighting every aspect of a war' in defending Syria's Assad". Fox News.
- Filkins, Dexter. "Qassem Suleimani, the Middle East’s Most Powerful Operative". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2014-01-06.
- Iran boosts support to Syria, Telegraph, 21 Feb 2014
- "Lebanon dragged in as Hezbollah joins Syria war". Reuters. 26 April 2013.
- "Syrian war widens Sunni-Shia schism as foreign jihadis join fight for shrines". The Guardian. 4 June 2013.
- "Syria rebels clash with army, Palestinian fighters". Agence France-Presse. 31 October 2012.
- Richard Galpin (10 January 2012). "Russian arms shipments bolster Syria's embattled Assad". BBC News. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
- "Russian military presence in Syria poses challenge to US-led intervention". The Guardian, 23 December 2012. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
- "It looks like Iraq has joined Assad's side in the Syrian war". Business Insider. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- Six Islamist factions unite in largest Syria rebel merger
- "The Free Syrian Army". Institute for the Study of War.
- "Syrian rebels tout a fighting force the US can work with". Christian Science Monitor. 2014-03-25. Retrieved 2014-03-31.
- "Pushing Back Against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant: The Syria Revolutionaries’ Front and the Mujahideen Army". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 7 January 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- "Rebels Worth Supporting: Syria's Harakat Hazm". Washington Institute for Near East Policy. 28 April 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
- "Reading Between the Lines: Syria's Shifting Dynamics or More of the Same?". Huffington Post. 2014-05-29. Retrieved 2014-06-01.
- Roula Khalaf and Abigail Fielding-Smith (17 May 2013). "How Qatar seized control of the Syrian revolution". Financial Times. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
- El Deeb, Sarah (20 June 2013). "Rivalries complicate arms pipeline to Syria rebels". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
- Hassan (1 October 2013). "The Army of Islam Is Winning in Syria". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
- Vatan, 8 September 2013, 'Türkiye El Nusra’ya ağır silahlar gönderdi'
- "U.S. weapons reaching Syrian rebels". Washington Post. September 11, 2013.
- Sherlock, Ruth. "Libya's new rulers offer weapons to Syrian rebels". The Telegraph. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
- "New front opens in Syria as rebels say al Qaeda attack means war". Reuters. 12 July 2013.
- "Syrian rebels launch fierce offensive against al Qaeda fighters". Reuters. 4 January 2014. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "Free Syrian Army fires military chief". Al Jazeera English. 16 February 2014. Retrieved 16 February 2014.
- "U.N. withdraws staffers as violence rages in Syria". Edition.cnn.com. 25 May 2013.
- Mroue, Bassem; Suzan Fraser (2012-12-08). "Syria Rebels Create New Unified Military Command". Huffington Post. AP. Archived from the original on 2012-12-08. Retrieved 2012-12-08.
- "Leading Syrian rebel groups form new Islamic Front". BBC. 22 November 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
- Top Syrian rebel commander dies from wounds (Reuters), 18 November 2013
- "Al-Nusra leader injured by regime bombardment". Facebook.com. Retrieved 2013-05-16.
- "FSA alliance pushes back against Islamic Front". The Daily Star. 17 December 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
- "U.S. Condemns Terrorist Attacks in Iraq and Pledges to Help Combat al Qaeda". United States Department of State. 10 August 2013.
- "Syria military strength detail". Global Fire Power. 27 March 2014.
- "As Syria war enters fourth year, regime eyes victory". Times. 11 March 2014.
- "Syria's diminished security forces". AFP. 28 August 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
- ISIS’ Iraq offensive could trigger Hezbollah to fill gap left in Syria Daily Star, 16 June 2014
- From Qusair to Yabrud: Shiite foreign fighters in Syria
- "«كتائب البعث» إلى شوارع دمشق". Al Akhbar. 14 January 2014.
- Aron Lund (13 January 2014). "The Baath Battalions Move Into Damascus". Carnegie Endowment.
- Syrian war widens Sunni-Shia schism as foreign jihadis join fight for shrines retrieved 5 June 2013
- Shiite Militias Decamping From Syria to Fight in Iraq
- Cockburn, Patrick (11 December 2013). "West suspends aid for Islamist rebels in Syria, underlining their disillusionment with those forces opposed to President Bashar al-Assad". The Independent.
- Front to Back
- Syria crisis: Guide to armed and political opposition
- "Syria crisis: Guide to armed and political opposition". BBC. 13 December 2013.
- "Factbox: Syria's rebel groups". Reuters. 9 January 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
- "Al Qaida rebels leave mass grave behind as they desert base in Syria". McClatchy. 6 January 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
- "NGO: Islamic State has 50,000 members in Syria". NOW News. 19 August 2014.
- "Islamic State 'has 50,000 fighters in Syria'". Al Jazeera. 19 August 2014.
- "Kurdish militia has 35,000 fighters: spokesman". The Daily Star. 27 December 2013.
- Mutlu Civiroglu (11 August 2013). "Kurdish Commander: Jihadi Groups in Syria Have Hijacked FSA". Rudaw.
- "More than 260 thousand killed and killed and been killed since the start of the revolution". Retrieved 21 August 2014.
- "David Cameron Offers 'Safe Passage' For Syria's Bashar Al-Assad, But Not To Britain (PICTURES)". Huffington Post. 6 November 2012.
- With SOHR already stating that the number of government and rebel fatalities is evenly divided and the pro-government fatalities to be an estimated 68,780, a higher figure of rebels killed can be estimated to be 68,780 as well. This would be in line with SOHR's estimate that the number of combatant dead being double the documented number.
- "Syria: Opposition, almost 11,500 civilians killed". Ansamed.ansa.it. 2010-01-03. Retrieved 2013-08-27.
- "Violations Documenting Center". Violations Documenting Center. 21 August 2014. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
- 15 killed (31 October 2012), 25 killed (19 November 2012), 379 killed (2013), 39 killed (1-7 January 2014), 13 killed (8 March-8 April 2014), 15 killed (1-7 July 2014), 18 killed (8 July 2014), 14 killed (29-31 July 2014), total of 518 reported killed
- "Violations Documenting Center - other statistics". Violations Documenting Center. 21 August 2014. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
- "Arsal ambush kills two Lebanese soldiers hunting wanted fugitive". Daily Star. 2 February 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-08.
- Violence in Lebanese Border Towns Adds to Fears of Syrian Encroachment
- "Kahwagi: Army will do utmost to free hostages". The Daily Star. Retrieved 2014-08-22.
- "Iraqi Soldier Killed by Fire from Syria". Naharnet.com. 3 March 2013.
- Zeina Karam (17 September 2012). "Syrian jets bomb northern city overrun by rebels". Washington Examiner. Associated Press.
- "Syria rebels fire on Iraq border posts, one killed". Channelnewsasia.com. 2013-06-09. Retrieved 2013-08-30.
- "Iraqi border guard killed in Syria violence spillover". Presstv.ir. 2013-07-13. Retrieved 2013-08-30.
- "Assad regrets downing of Turkish jet, says won't allow open combat with Ankara". English.alarabiya.net. 2012-07-03.
- "Turkish police killed in clashes on Syrian border". Worldbulletin.net. 2013-05-02.
- "Syria's civil war spills violence across borders into Jordan, Lebanon". Associated Press. 22 October 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
- "Syrian Refugees in Lebanon," The New York Times, September 5, 2013: UN says: 6.5 million displaced, of whom 2 million fled out of the country
- "Syria: A full-scale displacement and humanitarian crisis with no solutions in sight"., iDMC, Sep 2013: 5.1 million internally displaced ("forced to flee their homes because their lives were at danger, but did not cross international borders")
- "Dispatch: Syria's Internally Displaced Depend on Handouts"., UN, Feb 2013: 2.5 million internally displaced
- "Syrian refugees top three million mark: UN". SBS News. AAP. 2013-11-29. Retrieved 2014-01-03.
- "Syria's Meltdown Requires a U.S.-Led Response". Washington Institute for Near East Policy. 22 March 2013.
- Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Erika Solomon (22 February 2012). "Bombardment of Syria's Homs kills 21 people". Reuters. Retrieved 21 July 2014.[dead link]
- Bassem Mroue (May 25, 2013). "Hezbollah chief says group is fighting in Syria". Associated Press. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
- "Al Nusrah Front claims 3 more suicide attacks in Daraa". 27 November 2012.
- "ISIS Consolidates". 2014-08-01. Retrieved 2014-08-11.
- Jonathan Saul (17 January 2014). "Russia steps up military lifeline to Syria's Assad". Reuters. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
- Chivers, C. J.; Schmitt, Eric; Mazzetti, Mark (21 June 2013). "In Turnabout, Syria Rebels Get Libyan Weapons". The New York Times.
- "U.S. Considers Resuming Nonlethal Aid to Syrian Opposition". 2014-01-09. Retrieved 2014-06-26.
- The Guardian 15 May 2014
- Proxy war between Iran, Saudi Arabia playing out in Syria - Washington Times
- 6 major players who turned Syria into a proxy war nightmare - Salon.com
- Who Is Involved In The War In Syria? - Business Insider
- "Kofi Annan: Syrians pay with their lives while regional powers wage proxy wars". 2014-05-23. Retrieved 2014-05-28.
- "War in Syria: The Proxy Element". Oxford Research Group. July 11, 2013.
- Hubbard, Ben (17 July 2013). "Momentum Shifts in Syria, Bolstering Assad's Position". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- Martin Chulov in Najaf. "The Guardian, 12 March 2014". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
- Sunni v Shia, here and there. Retrieved 14 September 2013
- "UN says Syria conflict is 'overtly sectarian'". 20 December 2012.
- "Nasrallah says Hezbollah will not bow to sectarian threats". NOW News. 14 June 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
- "Syria Opposition Contradicts U.N., Says Conflict not Sectarian". Naharnet. 22 December 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
- "More than 2,000 killed in Syria since Ramadan began". Timesofoman.com. 2013-07-25. Retrieved 2013-08-27.
- "France urges action on Syria, says 120,000 dead". Alliance News. 25 September 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
- Salloum, Raniah (2013-10-10). "Spiegel,October 10, 2013". Spiegel. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
- "Syria torture archipelago".
- thedailybeast 7 July 2014
- "UN human rights probe panel reports continuing 'gross' violations in Syria". United Nations. 24 May 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2013.
- "Obama: US cannot ignore Syria chemical weapons". BBC. 7 September 2013.
- "UN must refer Syria war crimes to ICC: Amnesty". Agence France-Presse. 13 March 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
- "Syrian troops committed war crimes, says UN report". The Independent (London). 15 August 2012.
- "Syrian govt forces and rebels committing war crimes-U.N. report". Reuters. 15 August 2013. Retrieved 21 October 201.
- "Commission of Inquiry on Syria: civilians bearing the brunt of the "unrelenting spiral of violence"". Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. 18 September 2012. Retrieved 21 October 201.
- Douglas Little (1990). "Cold War and Covert Action: The United States and Syria, 1945–1958.". Middle East Journal 44 (1).
- "1949–1958, Syria: Early Experiments in Cover Action, Douglas Little, Professor, Department of History, Clark University" (PDF).
- "Syria Profile". BBC. 13 September 2013. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
- Wilson, Scott (25 April 2011). "Syria escalates attacks against demonstrators". The Seattle Times.
- "Protests in Syria Pose Challenges for the U.S". NPR.
- Golovnina, Maria (19 March 2012). "Asma al Assad, a "desert rose" crushed by Syria's strife". Reuters. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
- No Room to Breathe: State Repression of Human Rights Activism in Syria 19 (6). Human Rights Watch. October 2007. pp. 8–13.
- "Syria Smothering Freedom of Expression: the detention of peaceful critics". Amnesty International. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
- George, Alan (2003). Syria:Neither Bread nor Freedom. New York, NY: Zed Books. pp. 56–58. ISBN 1-84277-213-9.
- Liam Stack; J. David Goodman (1 April 2011). "Syrian Protesters Clash With Security Forces". New York Times. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
- The World Factbook - Syria
- Holliday, Joseph (December 2011). "The Struggle for Syria in 2011". Institute for the Study of War.
- Heneghan, Tom (3 December 2011). "Syria's Alawites are secretive, unorthodox sect". Reuters. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
- "washingtoninstitutemap". Retrieved 2014-05-21.
- Worth, Robert F. (24 April 2011). "Syrian Crisis Tests the Mettle of Its Autocratic Ruler". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- "Syria Kurd leader vows to keep up democracy struggle". Reuters. 7 April 2011. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- "US will not intervene in Syria as it has in Libya, says Hillary Clinton". The Guardian (London). 27 March 2011.
- "Rebels in Syria's largest city of Aleppo mostly poor, pious and from rural backgrounds". Fox News Channel. Associated Press. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- Saleeby, Suzanne (16 February 2012). "Sowing the Seeds of Dissent: Economic Grievances and the Syrian Social Contract's Unraveling". Jadaliyya.
- "Youth Exclusion in Syria: Social, Economic, and Institutional Dimensions". Journalist's Resource. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
- "World Report 2010 Human Rights Watch World Report 2010", p. 555.
- "Syria's Assad vows to lift emergency law by next week". Reuters. 16 April 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- "Syria". Amnesty International. 2009. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- Black, Ian (16 July 2010). "Syrian human rights record unchanged under Assad, report says". The Guardian (London).
- Human Rights Watch World Report 2005 Events of 2004, Human Rights Watch 2005. ISBN 1-56432-331-5.
- "Stateless Kurds in Syria granted citizenship". CNN. 7 April 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
- Brandon, James (21 February 2007). "The PKK and Syria's Kurds". Terrorism Monitor (Washington, DC: The Jamestown Foundation) 5 (3). Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- Isseroff, Ami (24 March 2004). "Kurdish agony – the forgotten massacre of Qamishlo". MideastWeb. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
- "Syria unrest: 'Deadly clashes' in Jisr al-Shughour". BBC. 5 June 2011. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
- "US policy on Syria 'depends on success in Libya'". BBC News. 24 May 2011. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
- "Armed residents put up resistance to Syrian army". Khaleej Times (Dubai). 31 May 2011. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
- "Syria protests: Rights group warns of 'Deraa massacre'". BBC News. 5 May 2011. Archived from the original on 6 May 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
- Salloum, Raniah (2013-10-10). "Spiegel October 2013". Spiegel.de. Retrieved 2014-05-27.
- Spiegel online October 10 2013
- From interview with Bassam Barabandi, diplomat for several decades in the Syrian Foreign Ministry 
- Holliday, Joseph (December 2011). "The Struggle for Syria in 2011". Institute for the Study of War. Retrieved 20 September 2013. (page 21)
- Landis, Joshua (29 July 2011). "Free Syrian Army Founded by Seven Officers to Fight the Syrian Army". Syria Comment. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
- "Defecting troops form 'Free Syrian Army', target Assad security forces". World Tribune. 3 August 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
- "Observations on the Air War in Syria". Air & Space Power Journal. March–April 2013.
- "Why Syrian Army Can't Crush Opposition". CNN. 25 June 2012. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
- "Syrian army kills at least 95 in Hama: activist". Dawn. Agence France-Presse. 31 July 2011. Retrieved 3 August 2011.[dead link]
- Clanet, Christian (10 June 2011). "A French Journalist in Dara'a, Syria's 'Ghetto of Death'". Time. Retrieved 21 June 2011.
- Barnard, Anne; Hubbard, Ben. "Syria News". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
- Oweis, Khaled Yacoub (14 August 2011). "Tank, navy attack on Syria's Latakia kills 26-witnesses". Amman. Reuters. Retrieved 14 August 2011.
- "Syrian forces kill seven protesters as Muslims celebrate first day of Eid". Al Arabiya. 30 August 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- "Syria forces storm main town, fight defectors-residents". Reuters. 27 September 2011.
- "Syria: 'Hundreds of thousands' join anti-Assad protests". BBC. 1 July 2011. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
- Oweis, Khaled Yacoub (4 October 2011). "Dissident Syrian colonel flees to Turkey". Reuters. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
- Yezdani, İpek (1 September 2012). "Syrian rebels: Too fragmented, unruly". Hürriyet Daily News. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
- "Syria sends extra troops after rebels seize Idlib: NGO". Ahram.
- "Activist group: Fourteen killed in Syrian violence". The Jerusalem Post. Reuters. 13 October 2011. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
- "Activists: Syrian forces fight defectors; 5 killed". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Associated Press. 17 October 2011. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
- "Assad forces fight deserters at northwestern town". Reuters. 25 October 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
- "11 troops killed as UN chief urges end to Syria violence". NDTV. Agence France-Presse. 18 October 2011. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
- Sands, Phil; Vela, Justin; Maayeh, Suha (2014-01-21). "Assad regime set free extremists from prison to fire up trouble during peaceful uprising". The National. Retrieved 2014-08-11.
- Weiss, Michael (2014-06-23). "Trust Iran Only as Far as You Can Throw It". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2014-08-11.
- Bakri, Nada (20 November 2011). "New Phase for Syria in Attacks on Capital". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- Bakri, Nada (15 December 2011). "Syrian Army Defectors Reportedly Kill 27 Soldiers". The New York Times.
- "Syria unrest: Dozens of army deserters 'gunned down'". BBC. 20 December 2011.
- "Syrian Air Force & Air Defense Overview". Institute for the Study of War. 25 October 2012.
- Neil MacFarquhar (26 October 2012). "Syrian Protesters Emerge Amid Clashes and Bombing During a Holiday Cease-Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
- Sly, Liz (21 January 2012). "Syria's Zabadani is 'liberated,' but for how long?". The Washington Post.[dead link]
- Yacoub, Khaled (30 January 2012). "Assad troops fight back against Syria rebels". Reuters. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
- "Syria – Mar 4, 2012 – 11:48". Al Jazeera. 4 March 2012.
- "More than 11,100 killed in Syria in 13 months: NGO". Google News. Agence France-Presse. 16 April 2012.[dead link]
- "Syrian troops retake opposition stronghold". Al Jazeera. 14 March 2012.
- "Syria agrees to Kofi Annan's April 10 peace deadline, UN Security Council told". Metro. 2 April 2012.
- Deadly Reprisals: deliberate killings and other abuses by Syria's armed forces. Amnesty International. June 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
- "Syria: Repression continues despite Annan plan hopes". Amnesty International. 3 April 2012. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
- "Iran reaffirms full support for Annan's Syria peace plan". Al Arabiya. 10 July 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- "Kofi Annan resigns as UN Syria envoy". The Times Of India. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
- "Deadly violence flares in Syria as EU-Russia seek solutions". Al Arabiya. 4 June 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
- "Assad names new Syrian PM, army battles rebels". Trust. Reuters. 6 June 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
- "New 'massacre' reported in Syria's Hama province". BBC News. 7 June 2012.
- "Syria UN team 'shot at' near Qubair 'massacre site'". BBC News. 7 June 2012.
- "Syria in civil war, says UN official Herve Ladsous". BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation). 12 June 2012. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- Ivan Watson (12 June 2012). "Syria: Battle for the cities". CNN. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
- "Syria's Qusayr prepares for Ramadan under siege". 10 July 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
- Abouzeid, Rania (20 July 2012). "In Rebel Syria: Celebrating Assad’s Departure–Even Though He’s Still Staying". Time. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- "Syria in civil war, Red Cross says". BBC. 15 July 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
- Ruth Sherlock; Adrian Blomfield (17 July 2012). "Syrian rebels launch campaign to 'liberate' Damascus". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 18 July 2012.
- Damien McElroy (18 July 2012). "Assad's brother-in-law and top Syrian officials killed in Damascus suicide bomb". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 18 July 2012.
- "Syria blast: Security chief Ikhtiar dies from wounds". BBC News. 20 July 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
- Solomon, Erika (18 July 2012). "Two Syrian rebel groups claim Damascus attack". Reuters. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
- Aneja, Atul (28 July 2012). "A decisive battle being waged over Aleppo". The Hindu (Chennai, India).
- Weaver, Matthew; Whitaker, Brian (25 July 2012). "Syria crisis: Assad strikes back with jets in Aleppo and Damascus – live updates". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- "Syria using fighter jets against rebels: UN". The Hindu (Chennai, India). Associated Press. 1 August 2012.
- Arango, Tim (19 July 2012). "Iraq Says Rebels in Syria Control Border Posts". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
- "Syrian rebels seize control of border crossing on frontier with Turkey". CBS News. 19 September 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
- Barnard, Anne; Mourtada, Hania (23 September 2012). "Rebel Group Says It Is Now Based in Syria, a Major Step". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
- Naeem, Asad (11 October 2012). "Syria rebels cut highway to northern battlefields". Business Recorder.
- Di Giovanni, Janine (18 October 2012). "Denial Is Slipping Away as War Arrives in Damascus". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
- Weaver, Matthew (30 October 2012). "Syria conflict: what next after failed ceasefire?". The Guardian (London).
- Gladstone, Rick (31 October 2012). "Syrian Air Force Commander Is Reported Killed". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
- "Syria army quits base on strategic Aleppo road". Reuters. 2 November 2012. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
- "Syrian rebels struggle to keep regime Air Force on the ground (+video)". The Christian Science Monitor. 26 November 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
- "Rebels target air base in battle against aerial bombardment in Syria". CNN. 4 November 2012. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
- Hubbard, Ben (20 November 2012). "Base Seizure Sharp Blow to Syria's Efforts to Roll Back Rebel Gains". Associated Press. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- Yeranian, Edward (22 November 2012). "Analysts Weigh in on Longevity of Syria's Assad". Voice of America. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
- "Virtually all Internet service in Syria shut down, group says". CNN. 29 November 2012. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
- "Syria's Internet Restored After Two Day Blackout". The Epoch Times. 2 December 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
- NRC Handelsblad (Dutch), 14 August 2014.
- Gordon, Michael R.; Schmitt, Eric (20 December 2012). "Syria Fires More Scud Missiles at Rebels, U.S. Says". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
- "Syria denies using Scud missiles in fighting armed militia". Xinhua News Agency. 13 December 2012. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
- Ruth Sherlock (17 December 2012). "Syrian rebels cut off Bashar al-Assad's escape route". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 17 December 2012.
- "Syria rebels make further gains". BBC. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
- "Syrian rebels launch major assault on army across Hama". The News International. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
- "Rebels seize towns in central Syria". Reuters. 19 December 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
- "Syrian rebels fully capture town near Turkish border after weeks of siege". Fox News Channel. Associated Press. 24 December 2012. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
- "Syrian rebels seize key air base, activists say". USA Today. Associated Press. 11 January 2013. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
- Saad, Hwaida; Gladstone, Rick (11 February 2013). "Syrian Insurgents Claim to Control Large Hydropower Dam". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- "Rebels take control of military airport in North Syria, NGO says". NOW News. 12 February 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- "Syrian air base falls, Assad forces under pressure". Reuters. 12 February 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2013.
- "Jihadists seize Syria town on Iraq border". NOW News. 14 February 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- "Syria conflict: Many dead in huge Damascus bombing". BBC. 21 February 2013. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- Barnard, Anne; Hwaida Saad and Hania Mourtada (21 February 2013). "Car Bomb in Damascus Kills Dozens, Opposition Says". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- "Syrian rebels attack Hezbollah's positions in Lebanon: FSA commander". Hürriyet Daily News. 22 February 2013.
- "Syria: Fierce clashes in provincial capital Raqqa". BBC. 2 March 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
- "Syria, Iran say US aid to rebels will extend war". Yahoo News. Associated Press. 3 March 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
- "Syria Live Blog". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
- "Rebels 'seize most of Syria police academy'". BBC. 3 March 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
- "Syrian Rebels Battle Regime Holdouts in Raqqa". ABC News. 5 March 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
- Barnard, Anne (18 March 2013). "Syria Warplanes Hit Lebanon for First Time". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
- Jim Muir (21 March 2013). "Syria mosque blast: Pro-Assad cleric among dozens dead". BBC.
- "Syria rebels seize southern base, border area". Reuters. 23 March 2013.
- "Rebels seize Jordan-Syria border area: activists". The Daily Star. 24 March 2013.
- Holmes, Oliver (25 March 2013). "Syrian rebels bombard central Damascus, army artillery hits back". Reuters.
- Baker, Aryn (12 May 2013). "Savage Online Videos Fuel Syria's Descent into Madness". Time.
- Bouckaert, Peter (13 May 2013). "Is This the Most Disgusting Atrocity Filmed in the Syrian Civil War?". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- "Outrage at Syrian rebel shown 'eating soldier's heart'". BBC. 14 May 2013.
- Dehghanpisheh, Babak (29 March 2013). "Rebels claim to take key city in southern Syria". The Washington Post.
- Gladstone, Rick; Droubi, Hala (3 April 2013). "New Rebel Gains Reported in Southern Syria With Seizure of Military Base". The New York Times.
- "Syrian forces Loyal to Asaad break Rebel Blockade in North Syria". Jafria News. 17 April 2013.
- "Syria rebels claim strategic airbase". News.com.au. 18 April 2013.
- "Syria troops seize strategic Homs village". Global Post. 18 April 2013.
- Lebovic, Matt (19 April 2013). "Fierce Battles in Syria; US To Raise Aid To Rebels". The Times of Israel.
- Sebastian Usher (22 April 2013). "Syria army seizes Jdaidet al-Fadl 'killing dozens'". BBC.
- "Syria army closes in on Qusayr near Lebanon". France 24. 21 April 2013.[dead link]
- Yacoub, Khaled (21 April 2013). "Syria fighting flares both sides of Lebanese border". Reuters.
- "Lebanon border area mired in Syrian conflict". Global Post. 21 April 2013.
- "Assad Thinks He's Winning The Syrian War – And He May Be Right". 25 April 2013.
- "Syria clashes destroy ancient Aleppo minaret". BBC. 24 April 2013.
- Solomon, Erika (2 May 2013). "Dozens dead as Assad's forces storm coastal village". Reuters. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- "Dozens killed in Syria's Banias: watchdog". The Daily Star. 2 May 2013.
- New York Times, 15 May 2013
- "Syrian dictator Assad 'massacres up to 100 men, women and children' with knives and guns as U.S says arming rebels is now an option". Daily Mail (London). 5 April 2013.
- Al, Suleiman (8 May 2013). "Assad's forces capture strategic town in southern Syria". Reuters.
- "Syrian rebels cut major desert road linking the country's 2 largest cities". Star Tribune. 11 May 2013.[dead link]
- "Syrian troops retake strategic town". London: Independent. Associated Press. 13 May 2013.
- Sly, Liz (12 May 2013). "Assad forces appear to gain ground in Syria". Post-Gazette.
- Gopnik, Blake (17 May 2013). "Syria's Bashar Al-Assad is Winning". The Daily Beast.
- "Abandoned arms as Syria rebels pull back near Qusayr". Google News. Agence France-Presse. 13 May 2013.[dead link]
- "Screws tighten on rebels as Assad forces advance on Qusayr". Middle-east-online.com. 13 May 2013.
- Suleiman Al-Khalidi (16 May 2013). "Syrian rebels launch offensive in south to reverse losses". Chicago Tribune. Reuters.[dead link]
- "Syria rebels seize Alawite villages in Hama". Now.mmedia.me.
- "Strategic city of Qusayr falls into hands of Assad forces:". Middle East Online. 19 May 2013.
- "Senior Hizbullah Official Killed in Syria Fighting". Arutz Sheva. 20 May 2013.
- "Syrian troops attack rebel town, 30 dead". 3news.co.nz.
- Barnard, Anne; Saad, Hwaida (19 May 2013). "Hezbollah Aids Syrian Military in a Key Battle". The New York Times.
- Sterman, Adiv. "Hezbollah commander killed in assault on Syria border town". The Times of Israel.
- Surkzeina, Barbara (20 May 2013). "Report: 23 Hezbollah members killed in Syria". News.findlaw.com.
- "Syria: Turning Point in the Battle of Qusayr". Al Akhbar English. 20 May 2013.
- "Homs province 6". Facebook.com.
- Zeina Karam (23 May 2013). "Clashes in Lebanon feed fear of Syria spillover". Associated Press. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
- Karouny, Mariam (29 May 2013). "Syrian army seizes strategic air base near Qusair: media". Reuters.
- "Syrie: l'armée reprend le contrôle de 2 localités à majorité alouite à Hama". Lorientlejour.com.
- "Qusair capture changes Syria conflict dynamics". BBC. 5 June 2013.
- "Syria conflict: Army 'retakes Golan Heights crossing'". BBC. 7 June 2013.
- "Israeli tanks move to Golan Heights' border". CNN. 6 June 2013.[dead link]
- "Syrian troops capture central villages from rebels". Bloomberg. 7 June 2013.
- "Car bomb explodes in central Syrian city as government troops press offensive". The Washington Post. 8 June 2013.[dead link]
- "Rebel brigades check loyalist advances in Aleppo: opposition". Reuters. 16 June 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- "Putin, Obama face off over Syria; rebels get Saudi missiles". Reuters. 17 June 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- "US aid would boost rebels: Syrian rebel chief". The Daily Star. Lebanon. 14 June 2013.
- "Rebels await storm and dream of US arms". Daily News and Analysis.
- "Activists: Syrian rebels attack village in country's east, killing dozens of local Shiites". Foxnews.com. 2013-06-12. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
- "Syrian rebels 'gain control' of a key military base in Hama". The Independent (London). 13 June 2013.
- "Syria rebels seize key army position". News.ninemsn.com.au. 13 June 2013.
- Ian Black, Middle East editor (13 June 2013). "Confirmed death toll in Syrian conflict nearly 93,000, says UN". The Guardian (London).
- "Syrian rebels seize Idlib's military barracks". Now.mmedia.me.
- "Syrian troops capture Damascus suburb near airport". 15 June 2013.
- "Syrian troops push forward with offensive against rebels, seizing Damascus suburb near airport". 17 June 2013.[dead link]
- Cockburn, Patrick (25 June 2013). "Tal Kalakh: The Syrian town that lost the will to fight – The once rebel stronghold is back in the hands of the Syrian army". The Independent (London).
- "Syria rebels lose border town". News24.com. 26 June 2013.
- "Syria army 'launches new Homs offensive'". Google.[dead link]
- "Syrian army, backed by jets, launches assault on Homs". Haaretz. 29 June 2013.
- Karouny, Mariam; Holmes, Oliver (12 July 2013). "New front opens in Syria as rebels say al Qaeda attack means war". Reuters. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
- Syria rebels seize parts of Deraa's Nawa city (Blog). Al Jazeera (17 July 2013).
- "Kurds seize town on Syria-Turkey border, Ankara concerned". Reuters. 18 July 2013.
- "Syrie: les Kurdes chassent des jihadistes d'un village du nord-est". Lorientlejour.com. 18 September 2013.
- "The Civil War Within Syria's Civil War". Foreignpolicy.com. 28 August 2013.
- "Syria rebels seize key northern town: NGO". Ahram Online. 22 July 2013.
- Homs province: Activists in the town of... – Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Facebook.
- "Syrian troops capture historic mosque in Homs". USA Today. 27 July 2013.
- "Syria: Government forces take control of strategic Homs neighbourhood". Toronto Star. 30 July 2013.
- Isabel Nassief (22 August 2013). "Regime Regains Ground on the Coast". Reuters. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
- Mroue, Bassam (5 August 2013). "hrw-syrian-missiles-kill-hundreds-civilians". Associated Press. Retrieved 12 September 2013.
- "Syrian rebel fighters guilty of serious abuses, says Human Rights Watch". CNN. 11 October 2013.
- Evans, Dominic (19 August 2013). "Assad's forces push back rebels in Syria's Alawite mountains". Reuters.
- "Syria army 'retakes all rebel positions in Latakia'". Agence France-Presse. 19 August 2013.[dead link]
- HRW: Executions, Unlawful Killings, and Hostage Taking by Opposition Forces in Latakia Countryside
- Syrian Civilians Bore Brunt of Rebels’ Fury, Report Says
- "Syrian rebels capture military airport near Turkey". Reuters. 5 August 2013.
- "FSA takes control of Menagh air base near Aleppo". Al Arabiya. 6 August 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
- Sam Dagher, Farnaz Fassihi (22 August 2013). "Syria Presses Offensive, Shrugs Off Gas Attack Claims". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
- "Army Retakes Strategic Town in Northwest Syria". Naharnet.com. 3 September 2013.
- "Assad forces capture strategic Syria northern town". News24.com. 3 September 2013.
- "Syria rebels take control of strategic town". Al Jazeera. 26 August 2013.
- "Activists: Syrian rebels take Christian village". greenwichtime. 8 September 2013.[dead link]
- Bill Neely (14 September 2013). "Maaloula's cathedral and churches empty of Christians as Syria's latest front-line fight takes its toll". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 23 October 2013.
- "Takfiri militants clash with forces of Free Syrian Army". Press TV. 18 September 2013.
- Morris, Loveday (18 September 2013). "Al-Qaeda-linked fighters seize Syrian town of Azaz from more moderate rebels". The Washington Post.
- Dziadosz, Alexander (3 October 2013). "Syria rebels try to end infighting near Turkish border". Reuters.
- "Activists: Syrian troops and pro-government militiamen storm Sunni village, killing 15". Fox News. Associated Press. 21 September 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
- Thomas Escritt (21 September 2013). "Syria meets deadline for chemical weapons disclosure". Reuters. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
- Marah Mashi (19 September 2013). "Syrian Army Makes Headway in Damascus and Homs". Al-Akhbar.
- "Events: Thursday 3 October 2013". Support Kurds in Syria. 3 October 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
- "Students reported killed in Syria air attack". Al Jazeera. 29 September 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
- "Syria army retakes northern strategic town". Gulf News. 3 October 2013.
- "Syria Live Blog – Live Blogs – Al Jazeera English". Al Jazeera. 5 February 2011.
- "Syria rebels seize guard post on Jordan border". Globalpost.com. 9 October 2013.
- Khaled Yacoub Oweis (11 October 2013). "Syrian army retakes two Damascus suburbs from rebels – activists". The Star. Malaysia.
- "Syrian opposition: Hezbollah, Iraqi militia capture Damascus suburb". The Jerusalem Post. 21 November 2013.
- "Deir Ezzour province: A fighter from... – Syrian Observatory for Human Rights". Facebook.
- "Boosted by Foreign Shi'ite Militia, Assad's Forces Advance on Aleppo". Voice of America. Reuters.
- "Syria rebels urge Aleppo mobilisation to halt assault". BBC. 13 November 2013.
- "Syria army hails recapture of rebel town near Damascus". The Daily Star. Lebanon.
- "Syrian military spy chief killed in battle – Middle East". Al Jazeera.
- Dziadosz, Alexander (24 October 2013). "Syrian army seizes Damascus suburb from rebels: state TV". Reuters.
- "Syria Kurdish fighters seize border post from Islamists". BBC. 26 October 2013.
- Bassem Mroue (25 October 2013). "Syrian Kurds Capture Border Crossing With Iraq". Associated Press.
- "Syrian forces capture town near chemical weapons site: Activists". The Daily Star. 1 November 2013.
- "AFP: Air raids on rebel areas near Damascus, Kurds advance: NGO". Google.[dead link]
- "Syrian government gaining ground in war, strengthening hand ahead of proposed peace talks". The Republic. 16 November 2013.[dead link]
- "Syria activists say rebels reach deal with government to ease blockade of rebel-held town". Fox News. 10 November 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
- "Syria army retakes key base near Aleppo: state TV". Google News. Agence France-Presse.[dead link]
- "Two Danes allegedly die fighting in Syria". The Copenhagen Post.[dead link]
- Diaa Hadid (11 November 2013). "Syria-based groups say talks may be 'last chance'". Nwherald.com.
- "Syria army seeks to reopen Aleppo airport: military". The Daily Star. Lebanon.
- N Lucas (13 November 2013). "Syrian media: Troops capture south Damascus suburb". U-T San Diego.
- Yacoub, Khaled (13 November 2013). "Assad's forces make further gains around Damascus". Reuters.
- Evans, Dominic (15 November 2013). "Assad's forces advance in northern Syria towards Aleppo". Reuters.
- "Syrian troops besiege strategic town amid fierce fights". Xinhua News Agency. 18 November 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
- "Syria troops seize Qara village near Lebanon border". NOW. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- "Forces loyal to Syria's President Capture Raqqa". Reuters. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
- "Islamist rebels capture Syria's largest oilfield: activists". Reuters. 23 November 2013.
- Urquhart, Conal (23 November 2013). "Syrian Islamist rebels claim capture of key oilfield". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
- Solomon, Erika (2013-11-24). "Scores killed as rebels battle to break siege of Damascus suburbs". Reuters. Retrieved 2014-03-20.
- Albert Aji, Bassem Mroue (28 November 2013). "Syrian troops capture town near Lebanon border". Associated Press. Retrieved 4 December 2013.[dead link]
- "Rebels retake Christian town of Maaloula". The Daily Star. 3 December 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
- "Suicide Bomber Kills Four in Central Damascus, Abducted Nuns Taken to Yabrud". Naharnet. 3 December 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
- "Syria Islamists seize Turkey border crossing". The Daily Star. 10-12-2013. Retrieved 6-1-2014.
- Dave Boyer (11-12-2013). "U.S., Britain to halt non-lethal aid to Syrian opposition". Washington Times. Retrieved 6-1-2014.
- Syrian army captures key town[dead link]
- "Al-Qaida militants captured town in northern Syria". Associated Press. 19 September 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- "Syrian rebel factions tell al Qaeda groups to withdraw". 3 October 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- "ISIL captures Syrian town on border with Turkey". World Bulletin. 22 November 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
- Bulos, Nabih (5 January 2014). "Al Qaeda-linked group routed in Syrian rebel infighting". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Chulov, Martin (6 January 2014). "Syrian rebels oust al-Qaida-affiliated jihadists from northern city of Raqqa". The Guardian.
- "Syria jihadist HQ in Aleppo falls to rebels". Retrieved 2014-05-21.
- Moukalled, Diana (2014-01-07). "Syria: ISIS besieged by opposition fighters in Raqqa « ASHARQ AL-AWSAT". Aawsat.net. Retrieved 2014-03-20.
- "Turkish army strikes ISIS convoy in Syria". Retrieved 2014-05-21.
- "Syria: Turkey Hits Islamic State of Iraq Convoy Near Border". EA WorldView. 2014-01-29. Retrieved 2014-03-20.
- Moukalled, Diana (2014-01-27). "Key Al-Qaeda militant reportedly killed in Syria « ASHARQ AL-AWSAT". Aawsat.net. Retrieved 2014-03-20.
- "Islamist rebels oust ISIS from Syria's Deir Ezzor". Retrieved 2014-05-21.
- "إدلب خالية من " داعش " بشكل كامل .. و الثوار يعلنون بدء معركة تحرير " خان شيخون " ( فيديو ) | عكس السير دوت كوم". Aksalser.com. Retrieved 2014-03-20.
- Syria Comment - Joshua Landis (2014-02-21). "Saudis And CIA Agree To Arm Syrian 'Moderates' With Advanced Weapons - OpEd Eurasia Review". Eurasiareview.com. Retrieved 2014-03-20.
- Liz Sly for the Washington Post. "Renegade al-Qaida faction withdraws from Syrian border town of Azaz | World news | Guardian Weekly". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 2014-03-20.
- "Syria Army Advancing on Key Rebel Town, Supply Route". Theepochtimes.com. 2014-03-04. Retrieved 2014-03-20.
- Bulos, Nabih; McDonnell, Patrick J. (8 March 2014). "Syria government forces seize strategic town near Lebanon border http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-syria-fighting-20140309,0,6277729.story#ixzz2vQPGFooq". LA Times.
- Syrian army advances amid new wave of explosions. Turkish Weekly. 7 March 2014. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
- "Syria conflict: Assad's forces fully control rebel stronghold of Yabroud, near Lebanon". 16 March 2014.
- "Israel bombs Syria's Golan after blast". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 2014-03-20.
- Associated, The. "Syrian Troops Capture Village Near Lebanon Border". NPR. Retrieved 2014-03-20.[dead link]
- "Syria rebels seize prison near Jordan, free inmates | Arab News — Saudi Arabia News, Middle East News, Opinion, Economy and more". Arabnews.com. 2014-03-14. Retrieved 2014-03-20.
- "Le régime syrien reprend le Krak des Chevaliers et coupe la "route libanaise" des rebelles - L'Orient-Le Jour". Lorientlejour.com. 2014-03-20. Retrieved 2014-03-27.
- Albert Aji (2014-03-29). "Syrian army takes two villages near Lebanon". The Daily Star. Retrieved 2014-03-30.
- March 23, 2014 4:42 PM (2014-03-23). "Syria condemns Turkey 'aggression' after jet downed - Yahoo News". News.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2014-03-27.[dead link]
- "Rebels battle for northern Syria town | Video | Reuters.com". Uk.reuters.com. 2014-03-17. Retrieved 2014-03-27.
- "Assad's cousin killed in fighting with Syrian rebels near Turkish border | JPost | Israel News". JPost. 2014-03-23. Retrieved 2014-03-27.
- "Assad cousin killed in Syria's Latakia - Middle East". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 2014-03-27.
- "Rebels take northern Syrian town on main highway: activists". Reuters. 4 April 2014.
- "Syrian army regains full control of Rankous | News , Middle East". The Daily Star. Retrieved 2014-05-19.
- "Syria rebels advance in Aleppo city". Aljazeera.com. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
- "Syria rebels surrender in border town". Aljazeera.com. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
- "السيطرة على تل استراتيجي جديد على الحدود مع الجولان المحتل". Syriahr.com. 2014-04-27. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
- "Syria Daily, April 25: Insurgents Take Key Regime Position in the Southwest". EA WorldView. 2014-04-25. Retrieved 2014-05-19.
- "FSA strikes jihadist-held stronghold". The Times. 2014-04-26. Retrieved 2014-05-19.
- "Activists: regime forces captured Tal Buraq". Syriahr.com. 2014-04-29. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
- "Evacuation truce in key Syrian city of Homs goes into effect". 2014-05-07. Retrieved 2014-05-08.
- "BBC News - Syria war: Air defence chief Gen Hussein Ishaq killed". Bbc.co.uk. 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2014-05-19.
- Reuters – 14 hours ago (2011-04-20). "Syria air defence head killed, rebels take northern town - Yahoo News UK". Uk.news.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2014-05-19.
- "Syria election: Assad win expected amid civil war". BBC. 3 June 2014.
- Syria presidential election: Assad's stage-managed show of democracy | World news | The Guardian
- Syria set to vote as the bloodshed goes on - Telegraph
- "Supreme Constitutional Court: Number of participants in Presidential elections reached at 11.634.412 with 73.42%". SANA (Damascus). 4 June 2014. Retrieved 4 June 2014.[dead link]
- "Syrian President Bashar al-Assad wins third term". BBC. 4 June 2014.
- Independent, 4 June 2014
- BBC News - Syria election: Refugees vote in Lebanon and Jordan
- Syrian refugees stranded and unable to vote | World | DW.DE | 03.06.2014
- Iran Guards commander killed in Syria: reports[dead link]
- Wladimir van Wilgenburg. "Syria's Kurdish region to boycott presidential elections". Al-Monitor. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
- Syrians flee as rebels vow to wreck poll | The Times
- Syria election: A ballot amid a battle - Worldnews.com
- 5 things to know about Tuesday's presidential election in Syria - Macleans.ca
- Syria Elections: Pressing for a Big Turnout, - WSJ
- Syria's 2014 Presidential Election Ignored In Opposition-Held Areas
- "Kerry calls Syrian presidential vote ‘meaningless’". Aljazeera. 4 June 2014.
- International observers ratified transparent elections in Syria | laInfo.es
- Foreign delegation in Syria slams West, endorses elections - The Times of India
- Indian Delegation to monitor Syria election on June 3 » KohraM
- Observadores ratificaron transparencia de elecciones sirias — teleSUR
- Organización y disciplina en los comicios sirios, según observador venezolano
- The Guardian , June 4 2014
- Syria Elections a Forum to Celebrate Assad - WSJ
- Bashar Assad claims 88.7 per cent of vote in Syrian election | Toronto Star
- Kerry calls Syria election a ‘great big zero’ - The Washington Post
- Syria calls in North Korea to monitor its presidential election - The Week
- Syria pounds ISIS bases in coordination with Iraq | News , Middle East | THE DAILY STAR
- "Syrian troops recapture key border town near Turkey". 15 June 2014.
- KUNA : Battles in Syria claim 50 lives - SOHR - Security - 14/06/2014
- "UPDATE 2-Ninety killed by Islamist attack on Syrian gas field -monitor". Reuters. 2014-07-17. Retrieved 2014-08-03.
- "مقتل 65 من قوات النظام في شاعر". Syriahr.com. 2014-07-20. Retrieved 2014-08-03.
- Syrian army takes town outside Damascus - report | Reuters
- Syrian army takes town outside Damascus: report | TODAYonline
- Syria troops retake key town outside Damascus | News , Middle East | THE DAILY STAR
- "James Foley's killers pose many threats to local, international journalists". Committee to Protect Journalists. August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
- "Sarin in Syria: UN inspectors struggle to verify competing claims". Al-bab.com. Retrieved 2014-03-20.
- Barnard, Anne (19 March 2013). "Syria and Activists Trade Charges on Chemical Weapons". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- Chulov, Martin (19 March 2013). "Syria attacks involved chemical weapons, rebels and regime claim". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- "Turkish doctors say no nerve gas in Syrian victims' blood". GlobalPost. 5 May 2013.
- Willsher, Kim (2 September 2013). "Syria crisis: French intelligence dossier blames Assad for chemical attack". The Guardian.
- Mazzetti, Mark; Gordon, Michael R. (13 June 2013). "Syria Has Used Chemical Arms on Rebels, U.S. and Allies Find". The New York Times.
- "lrb April 2014". Lrb.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
- Hersh, Seymour (8 December 2013). "Whose Sarin?". London Review of Books. Retrieved 10 December 2013.
- Ari Soffer (5 August 2013). "Syria: Rebels Allege Another Chemical Attack by Regime". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
- "UN Chemical Weapons Report Will Confirm Sarin Gas Used in Aug. 21 Attack". 16 September 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
- U.N report A-HRC-25-65  Reuters, 5 March 2014  The Guardian 5 March 2014 
- McElroy, Damien. "Dialy Telegraph 11 May 2014". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-05-27.
- "New rebel, government claims of poison gas attack complicates Syria civil war, weapons cleanup". US News. April 12, 2014.the guardian, 20 April 2014 
- Oliver Holmes (22 April 2014). "Syria's chemical weapons wild card: chlorine gas". Reuters. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
- Ruth Sherlock (29 Apr 2014). "Syria chemical weapons: the proof that Assad regime launching chlorine attacks on children". The Telegraph. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
- Chemical weapons including chlorine still being used in Syria says UN - Telegraph
- "Russia Urges Syria To Put Chemical Weapons Under International Control". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 9 September 2013.
- Isachenkov, Vladmir (9 September 2013). "Russia To Push Syria To Put Chemical Weapons Under International Control". Huffington Post.
- John Solomon. "US, Russia reach deal on Syria chemical weapons", The Washington Times. 14 September 2013.
- "Syria handed over 100% of declared chem weapons stockpile - watchdog". RT. 23 June 2014.
- Gladstone, Rick (22 February 2014). "Syrians Seek New Delay in Export of Chemical Arms". New York Times.
- "Syrian Chemical Weapons Moved to U.S. Ship for Destruction at Sea". The Wall Street Journal. 2 July 2014.
- "How Syria's chemical weapons will be destroyed". SBS. 4 July 2014.
- "US Ship Leaves Italian Port With Syrian Chemical Weapons For Destruction". RTTNews. 3 July 2014.
- "U.S. starts destruction of Syria's declared chemical weapons". CBS News. Associated Press. 7 July 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
- "600 tons of Syrian chemical weapons neutralized — OPCW". ITAR TASS. 19 August 2014.
- "Veolia completes incineration of Syrian chemicals". resource. 8 August 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
- "UK Completes Incineration Of Syrian Chemicals". CIWM Journal Online. 8 August 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
- "Chemicals from Syria arrive in Port Arthur for destruction". 12NEWS. 9 July 2014.
- "Syria hands over last of declared chemical weapons, monitor says". Los Angeles Times. 23 June 2014.
- "Last of Syria's chemical weapons shipped out". BBC News. 23 June 2014.
- "Syria Hands Over Last Of Declared Chemical Weapons". BuzzFeed. 23 June 2014.
- "Syria Chemicals Near Three-Quarters Destroyed: OPCW". Outlook. 7 August 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
- "Syria: Mounting Casualties from Cluster Munitions". Human Rights Watch. 16 March 2013.
- Saad, Waida; Rick, Gladstone (22 February 2013). "Scud Missile Attack Reported in Aleppo". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
- Sevil Küçükkoşum. "Syria fired more than 40 Scud missiles in two months". Hürriyet Daily News.
- Sly, Liz (26 February 2013). "Ballistic missile strikes on Aleppo signal new escalation in Syria war". The Washington Post.
- "U.S. condemns Scud attack in Syria, invites opposition for talks". NBC News. 24 February 2013.[dead link]
- Weaver, Matthew (1 March 2013). "Syria crisis: Scud missile lands in Iraq". The Guardian (London).
- Abdulrahim, Raja; Selo, Lava (29 March 2013). "20 dead in Scud missile attack in Syria, activists say". Los Angeles Times.
- "NGO: Missile fired on Syria town kills 4 civilians". Al Arabiya. 28 April 2013.
- "Syrian missile kills 26 in village near Aleppo 3 June 2013". France 24. 6 December 2012.[dead link]
- "Suicide bomber kills 16 in Syrian capital". 8 April 2013.
- Barnard, Anne (8 April 2013). "Wider Use of Car Bombs Angers Both Sides in Syrian Conflict". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Syria's deadly barrel bombs". Smh.com.au. 2012-09-02. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
- McElroy, Damien. "Syrian regime deploys deadly new weapons on rebels". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
- BBC, Jonathan Marcus, Barrel bombs show brutality of war; AFP 20 December 2013 AFP report on Aleppo bombing
- Syria rebels say Assad using 'mass-killing weapons' in Aleppo – Israel News, Ynetnews. Ynetnews.com (20 June 1995).
- Dropping Thermobaric Bombs on Residential Areas in Syria_ Nov. 5. 2012. Firstpost.com.
- Cumming-Bruce, Nick (4 June 2013). "U.N. Panel Reports Increasing Brutality by Both Sides in Syria". The New York Times.
- BBC news, 29 August 2013, BBC News, 30 September 2013 
- "Insight: Battered by war, Syrian army creates its own replacement". Reuters. 21 April 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
- Michael Weiss (17 May 2013). "Rise of the militias". NOW.
- "Syria's Alawite Force Turned Tide for Assad". Wall Street Journal. 26 August 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
- "Syria’s civil war: The regime digs in". The Economist. 15 June 2013.
- Adam Heffez (28 November 2013). "Using Women to Win in Syria". Al-Monitor (Eylül). Retrieved 28 November 2013.
- Asher, Berman. "Criminalization of the Syrian Conflict". Institute for the Study of War. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
- The Syrian Shabiha and Their State[dead link]. (PDF).
- Adorno, Esther (8 June 2011). "The Two Homs". Harper's Magazine. Retrieved 22 September 2012.
- Oweis, Khaled Yacoub (15 September 2011). "Armored Syrian forces storm towns near Turkey border". Amman. Reuters. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- "U.S. blacklists al-Nusra Front fighters in Syria". CNN. 12 December 2012. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
- "Bashar Al-Assad's transformation". Saudi Gazette. 15 May 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
- Holmes, Oliver (15 August 2011). "Assad's Devious, Cruel Plan to Stay in Power By Dividing Syria—And Why It's Working". TNR.
- "Analysis: Assad retrenches into Alawite power base". Reuters. 4 May 2011.
- Oweis, Khaled Yacoub (3 February 2012). "Uprising finally hits Syria's "Silk Road" city". Reuters. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
- "Iran and Hezbollah build militia networks in Syria, officials say". The Guardian. 12 February 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
- "Pro-Assad militia now key to Syrian government’s war strategy". The Miami Herald. 19 February 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2013
- [dead link]
- "Ahmad Jibril to be expelled from the PLO". Al Akhbar (Lebanon), 18 December 2012.
- "Drone flight over Israel: Nasrallah’s latest surprise". Arab-American News.
- Hirst, David (23 October 2012). "Hezbollah uses its military power in a contradictory manner". The Daily Star (Beirut).
- "Hezbollah fighters, Syrian rebels killed in border fighting". Al Arabiya, 17 February 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
- "Hezbollah fighters killed in Syria will 'go to hell,' says former leader". Al Arabiya. 26 February 2013.
- Anne Barnard, Hania Mourtada (30 April 2013). "Leader of Hezbollah Warns It Is Ready to Come to Syria's Aid". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- "Syrian offensive on Qusayr deepens". Al Jazeera.
- Mroue, Bassem (25 May 2013). "Hezbollah chief says group is fighting in Syria". Associated Press. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
- Stay informed today and every day (2014-01-04). "Lebanon: Will it hold together?". Economist.com. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
- "The long road to Damascus". The Economist. 11 February 2012. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
- Iranian Strategy in Syria, Institute for the Study of War, Executive Summary + Full report, May 2013
- Iran boosts support to Syria, telegraph, 21 Feb 2014
- "How Iran Keeps Assad in Power in Syria". Inside Iran. 5 September 2011. Retrieved 6 February 2012.
- BBC Newsnight, report on Iranian military advisor Hadari, 28 October 2013 'Iran's Secret Army' ,
- Iran boosts military support in Syria to bolster Assad, reuters, 21, Feb 2014
- The Interim Finance Minister: 15 Billion Dollars Iranian Support to Assad; syrianef; 24, January, 2014
- Filkins, Dexter (2013-09-30). "The Shadow Commander". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2014-08-11.
- "Syrian opposition groups reach unity deal". USA Today. 11 November 2012.
- "Syrian opposition groups reach unity deal". USA Today. 11 November 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
- Jim Muir (12 November 2012). "Syria crisis: Gulf states recognise Syria opposition". BBC. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
- "The National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces". Local Coordination Committees of Syria. 12 November 2012. Archived from the original on 19 November 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- "Defecting troops form 'Free Syrian Army', target Assad security forces". The World Tribune. Retrieved 13 November 2011.
- Torvov, Daniel (2 December 2011). "Free Syrian Army Partners with Opposition: What's Next for Syria?". International Business Times. Retrieved 28 September 2012.[dead link]
- Blomfield, Adam (21 November 2011). "Syrian rebels strike heart of Damascus". The Telegraph (London).
- Hafez, Salam (8 October 2011). "Syrian Opposition Call for No-Fly Zone". The Journal of Turkish Weekly. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
- Bearing Witness in Syria: A Correspondent’s Last Days. NYTimes (2012-03-04)
- "Syrian rebel leader Salim Idriss admits difficulty of unifying fighters". 7 May 2013.
- Fisk, Robert (29 September 2013). "A Syrian solution to civil conflict? The Free Syrian Army is holding talks with Assad's senior staff". The Independent (London). Retrieved 30 September 2013.
- Michaels, Jim (4 September 2013). "Kerry: Syrian rebels have not been hijacked by extremists". USA Today.
- Kelley, Michael (19 September 2013). "A full extremist-to-moderate spectrum of the 100,000 Syrian rebels". Business Insider. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
- Malas, Nour & Abushakra, Rima (25 September 2013). "Syrian rebel units reject pro-western opposition political leaders". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
- MacFarquhar, Neil; Saad, Hwaida (29 July 2012). "As Syrian War Drags On, Jihadists Take Bigger Role". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
- "ICSR Insight: European Foreign Fighters in Syria". 2 April 2013.
- Friedman, Thomas L. (7 January 2014). "Not Just About Us". New York Times. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
- "'He was brainwashed': Desperate Belgian father searches for son fighting in Syria". 26 April 2013.
- Ghazi, Yasir; Arango, Tim (28 October 2012). "Iraqi Sects Join Battle in Syria on Both Sides". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
- "Syrian rebels reject interim government, embrace Sharia". CNN. 25 September 2013.
- Sherlock, Ruth (2 December 2012). "Inside Jabhat al Nusra – the most extreme wing of Syria's struggle". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- "Qaeda in Iraq confirms Syria's Nusra is part of network". Agence France-Presse. 9 April 2013. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
- "Al-Nusra Commits to al-Qaida, Deny Iraq Branch 'Merger'". Agence France-Presse. 10 April 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
- "With wary eye, Syrian rebels welcome Islamists into their ranks". 25 October 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- Chulov, Martin (17 January 2013). "Syria crisis: al-Qaida fighters revealing their true colours, rebels say". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 26 January 2013.
- Catholic Priest Allegedly Beheaded in Syria by Al-Qaeda-Linked Rebels as Men and Children Take Pictures and Cheer. TheBlaze.com (30 June 2013).
- Abdul-Ahad, Ghaith (23 September 2012). "Syria: the foreign fighters joining the war against Bashar al-Assad". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 9 December 2012.
- Agence France-Presse in Jdeitdet Yabus (2014-03-10). "Kidnapped nuns thank negotiators after being freed in Syria | World news". theguardian.com. Retrieved 2014-03-20.
- Gul Tuysuz, Raja Razek, Nick Paton Walsh (6 November 2013). "Al Qaeda-linked group strengthens hold in northern Syria". CNN. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
- "Syria: Harrowing torture, summary killings in secret ISIS detention centres". 19 December 2013. Amnesty International. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
- Birke, Sarah (27 December 2013). "How al-Qaeda Changed the Syrian War". New York Review of Books.
- Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic. UN Human Rights Council. 15 September 2011. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
- Muscati, Samer (14 May 2012). "Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Iraqi Safe Haven". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
- Blair, Edmund; Saleh, Yasmine (4 July 2012). "Syria opposition rifts give world excuse not to act". Reuters. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
- YPG Commander: Kurds Are Bulwark Against Islamic Extremism in Syria. Rudaw.net.
- "UN chief slams Syria's crackdown on protests". Al Jazeera. 18 March 2011.
- "Canada condemns violence in Yemen, Bahrain, Syria". Agence France-Presse. 21 March 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2011.[dead link]
- "China and Russia veto UN resolution condemning Syria". BBC. 5 October 2011.
- United Nations General Assembly Resolution 182 session 46 Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian emergency assistance of the United Nations on 19 December 1991
- United Nations, Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan (SHARP). Retrieved 18 September 2013
- UNOCHA, Financial Tracking Service, http://fts.unocha.org/pageloader.aspx?page=emerg-emergencyDetails&emergID=16303. Retrieved 18 September 2013
- "SYRIAN HUMANITARIAN RELIEF".
- "Iran sending tonnes of flour daily to Syria: report". Agence France-Presse. 3 March 2013.
- "Revealed: how Syrian rebels seek medical help from an unlikely source in Israel". 2014-01-12. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- "Humanitarian aid convoy departs to help Syrian refugees". 27 April 2013.
- "WHO warns of Syria disease threat". BBC. 4 June 2013.
- Syria allies: Why Russia, Iran and China are standing by the regime, cnn, August 30, 2013
- Memmott, Mark (13 November 2013). "As Talks Continue, CIA Gets Some Weapons To Syrian Rebels". National Public Radio. Retrieved 10 December 2013.
- Marcus, Jonathon (10 August 2012). "Syria conflict: UK to give extra £5m to opposition groups". BBC. Retrieved 10 December 2013.
- "France’s Hollande hints at arming Syrian rebels". France24. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 10 December 2013.
- "Saudi edges Qatar to control Syrian rebel support". Reuters. May 31, 2013
- "Syrian rebel commander says he collaborated with Israel". 2014-08-13. Retrieved 2014-08-17.
- "Two Arab countries fall apart". The Economist. June 14, 2014.
- "Syria's top Islamist and jihadist groups". France 24.
- "Syrian Martyrs". Free Syria. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
- "U.N.'s Syria death toll jumps dramatically to 60,000-plus". CNN. 3 January 2013.
- "Syria death toll at least 93,000, says UN". BBC News. 13 June 2013.
- McDonnell, Patrick J. (13 June 2013). "U.N. says Syria death toll has likely surpassed 100,000". Los Angeles Times.
- "Syria crisis: Solidarity amid suffering in Homs". BBC. 29 January 2013. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
- Enders, David (6 November 2012). "Deaths in Syria down from peak; army casualties outpacing rebels'". Retrieved 14 November 2012.
- "400 children killed in Syria unrest". Geneva: Arab News. 8 February 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2013.[dead link]
- Peralta, Eyder (3 February 2012). "Rights Group Says Syrian Security Forces Detained, Tortured Children: The Two-Way". NPR.
- Fahim, Kareem (5 January 2012). "Hundreds Tortured in Syria, Human Rights Group Says". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- "Fighting Continues in Syria". Arutz Sheva. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
- Ian Black, Middle East editor. "Syrian regime document trove shows evidence of 'industrial scale' killing of detainees". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
- Sparrow, Annie (February 20, 2014). "Syria’s Polio Epidemic: The Suppressed Truth". New York Review. Retrieved 23 January 2014. "Even before the uprising, in areas considered politically unsympathetic like Deir Ezzor, the government stopped maintaining sanitation and safe-water services, and began withholding routine immunizations for preventable childhood diseases. Once the war began, the government started ruthless attacks on civilians in opposition-held areas, forcing millions to seek refuge in filthy, crowded, and cold conditions."
- "Syria crisis: Number of refugees rises to 200,000". BBC News. 24 August 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
- "Syrian Refugees in Lebanon," The New York Times, 5 September 2013
- "Syrian refugee camps in Turkish territory tracked by satellite". Astrium-geo.com.
- Kasolowsky, Raissa (9 October 2012). "Up to 335,000 people have fled Syria violence: UNHCR". Reuters. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
- "UN refugee agency says more than 2m have fled Syria". BBC. 3 September 2013.
- Inbari, Pinhas. "Demographic Upheaval: How the Syrian War is Reshaping the Region". Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
- "UN must refer Syria war crimes to ICC: Amnesty". GlobalPost. Retrieved 2014-03-20.
- "Top Syrian general defects, says morale among forces at a low". CNN.com. 16 March 2013. Retrieved 2014-03-27.
- ,The Guardian, 20 January 2014
- "syria war crimes". Aa.com.tr. Retrieved 2014-05-27.
- Heilprin, John (11 September 2013). "Syria Massacres: UN Probe Finds 8 Were Perpetrated By Syria Regime, 1 By Rebels". Huffington Post.
- "CBS News article". CBS News.
- Syria conflict: Women 'targets of abuse and torture', BBC, 26 November 2013.
- "Report: rape used as weapon of war against Syria women". English.alarabiya.net. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
- "6,000 cases of women raped during Syrian conflict, human rights group says". Globalpost.com. 2013-11-26. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
- Sir Desmond de Silva QC, former chief prosecutor of the special court for Sierra Leone, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, the former lead prosecutor of former Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milosevic, and Professor David Crane, who indicted President Charles Taylor of Liberia at the Sierra Leone court
- "Syrian regime document trove shows evidence of 'industrial scale' killing of detainees". theguardian. 21 January 2014. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
- "EXCLUSIVE: Gruesome Syria photos may prove torture by Assad regime". CNN. 21 January 2014. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
- Stay informed today and every day (2014-01-30). "Syria's civil war: War crimes and peace talks". Economist.com. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
- Martin Chulov in Beirut (2014-01-30). "The Guardian, 30 January 2014". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
- "Report of the independent international commission of inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic". 2014-02-12. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
- "UN decries use of sieges, starvation in Syrian military strategy | The New Age Online". Thenewage.co.za. 2014-03-05. Retrieved 2014-03-20.
- "Yarmouk update: Nusra's apparent return complicates UNRWA's hopes for food program". 2014-03-03. Retrieved 2014-03-06.
- "Latin American Herald Tribune - UN: Assad Regime Causing Mass Civilian Casualties in Syria". Laht.com. 2013-06-15. Retrieved 2014-03-27.
- Barnard, Anne (13 July 2013). "Syria Weighs Its Tactics As Pillars of Its Economy Continue to Crumble". The New York Times.
- "Report Shows War's Impact on Syrian Economy – Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East". Al-Monitor.
- Cave, Damein (9 August 2012). "Crime Wave Engulfs Syria as Its Cities Reel From War". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
- "The ultimate assault: Charting Syria's use of rape to terrorize its people". Women Under Siege. 11 July 2012. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
- Cunliffe, Emma. "Damage to the Soul: Syria's cultural heritage in conflict". Durham University and the Global Heritage Fund. 1 May 2012.
- Fisk, Robert. "Syria's ancient treasures pulverised". The Independent. 5 August 2012.
- Barnard, Anne (2014-04-16). "Syrian War Takes Heavy Toll at a Crossroad of Cultures". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-04-18.
- David Batty (22 June 2013). "Syrian art smuggled from the midst of civil war to show in London". The Guardian.
- Cave, Damien (24 August 2012). "Syrian War Plays Out Along a Street in Lebanon". The New York Times.
- Hinnebusch, Raymond (2012). "Syria: From 'Authoritarian Upgrading' to Revolution?". International Affairs 88 (1): 95–113. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2346.2012.01059.x.
- International Crisis Group (13 July 2011). "Popular Protest in North Africa and the Middle East (VII): The Syrian Regimes Slow-Motion Suicide" (PDF). Middle East/North Africa Report N°109. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
- Landis, Joshua (2012). "The Syrian Uprising of 2011: Why the Asad Regime Is Likely to Survive to 2013". Middle East Policy 19 (1): 72–84. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4967.2012.00524.x.
- Lawson, Fred Haley, ed. (1 February 2010). Demystifying Syria. Saqi. ISBN 978-0-86356-654-7.
- Rashdan, Abdelrahman. Syrians Crushed in a Complex International Game. OnIslam.net. 21 March 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
- Van Dam, Nikolaos (15 July 2011). The Struggle for Power in Syria: Politics and Society under Asad and the Ba'ath Party. I. B. Tauris. ISBN 1-84885-760-8.
- Wright, Robin (2008). Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East. New York: Penguin Press. pp. 212–261. ISBN 1-59420-111-0.
- Ziadeh, Radwan (2011). Power and Policy in Syria: Intelligence Services, Foreign Relations and Democracy in the Modern Middle East. London: I. B. Tauris. ISBN 978-1-84885-434-5.
|Find more about the Syrian civil war at Wikipedia's sister projects|
|Media from Commons|
|News stories from Wikinews|
- Fox News exclusive interview with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad Fox News, 18 September 2013
- Interview with Bashar Assad: 'In the End, a Lie Is a Lie' Der Spiegel, 7 October 2013
- President Bashar al-Assad’s interview with Agence France Presse AFP 20-01-2014 20 January 2014
- A discussion of the causes of the civil war at the United Nations University for Peace.
- First ever broadcast interview with Jabhat al Nusra founder Abu Mohammed al-Joulani
- Supranational government bodies
- Human rights bodies
- Syria Conflict at BBC News
- Syrian uprising: A year in turmoil at The Washington Post
- Syria Pulse collected news and commentary at Al Monitor
- Latest Syria developments at NOW Lebanon
- Syria collected news and commentary at The Guardian
- Syria collected news and commentary at The New York Times
- Syria news, all the latest and breaking Syria news at The Daily Telegraph
- Syria collected coverage at Al Jazeera English
- The battle for Syria (documentary films). Sources: TV news air footage (video documentary + English subtitles The battle for Syria on YouTube, official video documentary and the official text of the ).VGTRK
- Syrian diary (documentary films). Sources: TV news air footage (video documentary + English subtitles Syrian diary on YouTube), official video documentary of the .VGTRK